Busan Book Swap Celebrates Two Years


BUSAN, South Korea — So pretty much everybody these days has a Kindle or eReader or fancypants smartphone for reading the latest fiction. But, hey, remember books? Remember browsing? And, like, libraries? No? Well, SonnyJim, here’s a newsflash—some people still read them, like, on purpose! For fun!

Don’t get me wrong: I’m all for the digital age. New websites like Goodreads are great and everything, and, yes, okay, you can kind of browse books there. But I’m kind of old fashioned—I don’t think you can judge an E-book by its E-cover, and I just really like to have a good old flick. Sometimes you need to pick the thing up and have a good hard look at it before you know if you’re gonna like it.

It’s not just me who belongs to the old school. People have been going to the Book Swap to exchange real books for two years now, people such as the lovely Katie (pictured), who says that it’s a great way for us to help each other out—a book that’s just taking up much-needed space in your apartment might be the very title that another expat is looking for. You give a little and get a little, and it’s exciting because you never know when a book you’ve been waiting for might show up on that table!

On the first Sunday of every month, real life people meet up, have old-fashioned real life conversations (it gives your fingers a break from all that tweeting and instant messaging) and swap real, paper books. There are those who come with five or six books to exchange then spend the whole evening enjoying Craig’s famous G&Ts and Bloody Marys, and some who come with just one or two on their way to the beach or a Sunday hike.

There’s a good mix of newcomers and old old faces who have been coming since the early days in PNU, and there’s that spectacular view of the beach and the bridge that always looks so lovely after dark, so you can stare dreamily out of the window at the sea whilst pondering over your copy of Fifty Shades of Gray…

Busan Book Swap is celebrating its second birthday on November 4 at Beached Bar in Gwangalli. Doors open at 4 p.m., and live music, featuring the Dammit Janets, starts at 7. There will be vodka, rum and gin mixers for 4,000 won, and Beached food fare, including pizza and fish and chips. Oh, and leave your Kindle at home.

For more information, or to contact someone in charge, check out the Book Swap’s Facebook page.

Photos by Jake Kanelos and Emma Clarkson



HQ bar