Where I Buy Korean Books
Similar to GMarket, I usually prepare for a pricey shopping trip. I try to keep a list of books I want in preparation. Aladin offers free shipping on orders over $50, so if you can find all the books you want here, it is worth it over GMarket. If you live in the LA area you can actually pick-up your order in-store and save money that way, too.
Another tricky thing with Aladin is that it’s all in Korean. So, you have to have your language skills up to chops or a friend who can help. There are a lot of sites that offer walkthroughs, but they might be slightly out of date. (I made an up-to-date guide as well!) If your Korean is decent, It should be enough to get you to the finish line. Make sure you’re on the US version of the site. If the prices are in Korean Won and not US Dollars, look for a tiiiiny pink button on the top right that says “알라딘 US.”
I’ve been able to find a decent selection of children’s books in Korean on Amazon. One trick I use is searching “Korean Edition” at the end of the book title. From there, I’ll look at the related or suggested items. I’ve gotten the Rainbow Fish, the Giving Tree, I Love You Through and Through, My First Korean English Picture Dictionary, and Goodnight Moon this way. Some of these are bilingual books and have the English alongside the Korean. I find that really helpful for myself since my vocabulary comprehension is not that strong.
Pricing on Amazon really ranges. Sometimes, they’re as low as $5 (but then you have to pay $10-$15 for shipping.) Other times, they are astronomically expensive and I imagine they are being sold and shipped directly from Korea (at which point, I feel better off trying a Korean online retailer.)
GMarket is a wonderful place to get items directly from Korea. (I used a Spectra pump and I was actually able to get a handsfree unit and a lot of authentic accessories directly from the manufacturer much lower than it would cost on Amazon or other US sites.) When shopping on GMarket Global, be sure you are shopping in the US site. And, when you’re searching for items, be sure the “International Shipping” airplane icon is selected. One thing that really drove me nuts was spending hours looking for books only to checkout and discover they weren’t available for International shipping.
I’ve noticed a few of the shops offer free shipping if you spend over a certain amount. When I figure out who this is, I try to limit my book search to their shop. The way I go about it is: I try to find one or two larger vendors with free shipping offers. I make a list of books I want to get and then I search each book and see which of the two shops offers most. It is a little bit of work and you usually have to financially prepare for a bit of a hefty haul, but it is worth it when you get all your books!
Koryo Books Manhattan
35 W 32nd St, New York, NY
I love love LOVE a bookstore.
If you’re in New York City, this store has a small, but decent selection of children’s books in the back of the store. Look for the toys, Pink Fong, and Pororo. You’ll see shelves with board books and children’s stories.
This store also has a great selection of Korean Language books, including textbooks, if you’re looking to supplement your own studying. Although, I heard recently it looks more like a BTS fan club. But, that’s okay, too. Right? 😂
Koryo Books Palisades Park
208 Broad Ave, Palisades Park, NJ 07650
I haven’t visited this shop so I can’t say much about it other than it is located in the heart of Pal Park. So, even if your shopping trip is a bust, you can at least get some Korean Skincare and delicious food nearby.
Bandi/Aladin Books Queens
14722 Northern Blvd, Flushing, NY 11354
I haven’t been here in a really long time, so I’m not sure if it’s Bandi or Aladin since both names pop up online but the Google Maps photo shows 밴디 on the storefront. It has great reviews online and seems to be one of the better local bookshops. Similar to the Koryo in Pal Park, it’s in Koreatown. So, even if you come out empty handed, you’re trip can end with a delicious meal.
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