In my expensive quest for more acquisitions for my collection of Korea-related books I am always on the look-out for stores with decent stock. I have in the past been constantly disappointed by the bookshops in Manhattan. The main Korean bookshop in 32nd Street, Koryo Books, caters to Korean speakers rather than English speakers. The collection of books in English there has shrunk still further since I last visited and to be honest is not really worth a visit any more unless you are interested in books to help you to read Korean.
As an aside, I spotted an interestingly specific English language manual for native Korean speakers, providing evidence of a favoured occupation among the community:
The book contained Korean and English examples of real-life dialogue in a dry cleaning environment such as a customer asking how much it was likely to cost in insurance to store his fur coat for the summer. I could not find the suggested response to the irate customer who sues you for 54 million bucks for losing his trousers.
But on my stroll down Avenue of the Americas towards Koreatown I came across a recently-opened bookstore, spacious, welcoming, and containing a section on general East Asian books. Approximately nine feet of shelf space is devoted to Korea-related matters (above), unfortunately with the usual over-emphasis on the Korean War and the current state of the DPRK. But there were also one or two books of Korean folk stories, and a serious tome on Korean drumming (Pungmul). I used to visit this bookstore in its previous incarnation, near the Rockefeller Center, on 49th street. In its new site it has twice as much stock, a nice coffee bar, a vastly increased collection of DVDs — including Korean ones — manga, J-pop… Oh yes. I forgot to mention the name of the store: Kinokuniya. A Japanese bookshop.
Kinokuniya is located on the west side of 6th Avenue, between 40th and 41st Streets.
- Kinokuniya website