death of neighborhood bookshops
In Yaksu-dong where Hyôndae Mun'go is there were eight bookshops in the late 1980s, but at the moment only three are left. Where bookshops used to be are now chicken places, eateries (punsik) and clothing shops. The bookshops that are left survive by selling reference books (?, ch'amgosô. "Earlier I used to recommend good new books for regulars, and could spend hours just debating. Just seeing schoolkids after classes browsing books without buying anything gave me such a good feeling, but now those feelings have disappeared from my business."
Hankyoreh is surely in a morally correct position in proposing that a policy for the survival of small neighborhood bookshops is urgent, but for all my sympathy for the small businesskeepers of all kinds, I can't see how the shops can be saved in any large scale with the present preferences of customers. What the representative of the bookshop association can appeal to are the concepts of neighborhood (tongne) and local society / community (chiyôk sahoe), in which the small bookshops can allegedly pay an important role as "cells of local culture."
What did I by from Mr Kim's bookshop in Sillim-dong? Magazines every now and then, perhaps one children's book to give as a present. The first book for myself from the shop I received for free when the woman of the keeper wanted to give one as present. There wasn't much that I was interested in, but I took a collection of essays by Ma Kwang-su.
The neighborhood bookshop article is part of the series "The Self-employed are Collapsing" (무너지는 자영업자), of which the following pieces have also appeared:
② "Baking bread only once a day and yet can't sell it all".)
③ "Hair designer pride" in peril in price competition
Categories at del.icio.us/hunjang: businesskeepers ∙ books ∙ self-employment ∙ Koreaneconomy