January 28, 2014

Luangprabang Public Library Bookstore

Luangprabang Public Library and Bookstore

In my search for all things literary in the city, I think there were only 4 good places for books in Luangprabang.  This was one of them.  In fact, I found this place by accident.  I wanted to see the library and then found that they had a bookstore right next door which the library also runs.  Quite honestly, while going along the street you'd never notice that there was a bookstore here.  So it was a wonderful surprise for me (me being the bookworm that I am!).

The picture shown here was my first attempt to check out the book store.  Unfortunately on my first attempt they were closed, having gone in the evening (as the picture shows).

The good news is that on my second attempt I went in the morning and indeed I got to go into the bookstore.  Regrettably I didn't get a picture of the interior that day.  I completely forgot to take pictures!  It's a small bookstore.  It has a combination of Lao and English language books.  It also has a book exchange.  At the time of this writing, the book exchange is mainly foreign language books which can be done on a 1-for-1 trade plus 40,000 kip.  Though I found that all of this is negotiable depending on what you have to trade.  Books for sale are generally well priced too.

In spite of it being a small bookstore, I was able to find many books that I wanted to buy.  I forget how many exactly but because I wanted to buy a lot of books.  I asked the young guy working there that day if they would consider giving me a discount (negotiating in Asia, as it were!).  His name was Sengdao and he couldn't have been more pleasant and fun to talk to.  He took all the books I had chosen and ran over next door to the library to ask his boss, another young woman who was equally pleasant and sweet, whether I could get a discount.  I waited and browsed for more books and also quietly considered how much I wanted to offer for the all the books I wanted.

He came running back and without me having to even suggest what specific lower price I wanted, the total cost he came back with was even better than what I wanted to suggest.  Of course I agreed and bought the books plus a couple more I found while I was waiting for him.  Talk about a pleasant negotiation - and I use the word negotiation lightly here.  They were very friendly and agreeable.  However even if they didn't give me much of a discount I would have bought the books anyway as the proceeds go to a good cause afterall.

So if you ever do visit Luangprabang and are in search of books.  The library and bookstore are located on the same street as the night market on Sisavangvong Rd., across from Vat Mai.  The library itself does good work and so by buying books or participating in the book exchange, you're also helping the library as well.

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