My wife and I went to Bandi & Luni’s bookstore in Coex Mall in Seoul yesterday. It was awesome! We both had a wad of cash that we wanted to spend, and spend we did. I picked up three Terry Pratchetts, and my wife a couple of more highbrow books. And all together it came out to about R550. R550 for seven books! That’s cheap! In SA I’d be lucky to get away with R700.
The selection was fantastic. I was expecting a range of English bestsellers, but not much depth. I was pleasantly surprised to see shelves and shelves of English books – from classics to the latest Oprah bookclub favourites. In fact it had a better selection than most of the Expensive… I mean Exclusive… book stores in SA. And they also have a free club card which gives you discounts on your purchases. How much, I’m not sure, but it looked like between 10 and 20% to me. I’m definitely heading back there next month.
This really brought home the lack of choice we have in SA when it comes to books. I spent five years working for Expensive Books. Exploitive Crooks. Dammit! EXCLUSIVE BOOKS. They had a decent range of books, but the selection was always the same. And you could go to any bookstore in SA and see the same books. But here I go to a bookstore in South Korea, where the VAST majority of people don’t read English, and see a far better selection of books at better prices. Why is that? The average paperback at Bandi&Lundi’s was about R80, but in SA it comes closer to R120. I found most of my favourite authors, and they even had a Sci-Fi/Fantasy section that would put most Exclusive Book branches to shame.
I think we’re getting taken for a ride in SA. I guess I’m just going to have to stock up while I’m here.