Saigon’s Book Street | A Great Destination for Book Lovers

The famous Argentinian essayist and poet Jorge Luis Borges once said: “I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library”. While there are more than one layer of meaning to this excellent quote, if we focus on its literal interpretation, then Saigon would have a Paradise installed right by the City Post Office – on the Nguyễn Văn Bình book street.

First open to the public in early September 2016, Saigon’s book street has since been referred to as a ‘paradise’ for book lovers, and so far it has been living up to its reputation. Boasting a length of over 100 meters, Nguyễn Văn Bình book street is not only the longest but also presumably the most diversified of its kind. The street is made up of many kiosks measuring from 3 to 4 meters in width placed side by side.

Each kiosk belongs to a specific publisher or bookstore looking to promote their products, which range from literary publications and magazines to reference books and comics. Items on the shelves cover quite a broad spectrum of genres, such as fictions, non-fictions, travel writings, or poetry, so it is almost guaranteed that anyone can find something for themselves. My favorite kiosk, however, is one that sells old books and postcards for next to nothing, and collectors are to be found lingering around it hoping to find some of their favorite out-of-print materials.

Apart from being a splendid outdoor library, Nguyễn Văn Bình book street also serves as a gathering spot for book enthusiasts. Near the end of the street lies a reading area offering comfortable chairs and sofas for you to sit back and enjoy your book. This place is often filled to the brim with readers, young and old, absorbed in their books for hours on end. They are generally friendly, from my personal experience, and after a few minutes of breaking the ice, most people are willing to have a little chat about whatever topic that comes to mind. Occasionally, these reading spaces are used to hold many interesting activities like book talks by experts or inspirational figures or art and cultural workshops by numerous artists. The most recent activity that I had a chance to partake in was a calligraphy workshop and it was amazing to get to interact directly with the hosting artists who would have otherwise been distanced from the audience had they performed on a stage.

In a sprawling metropolitan like Ho Chi Minh city – Saigon, entertainment is in great demand and a vast array of recreational places are established to meet the ever-growing need. Yet, in the midst of all the hustle and bustle, the image of a calm street full of books still manages to stand out. Why? Because Nguyễn Văn Bình street doesn’t just give its visitors books, but more importantly a place for them to come together and share their knowledge and experiences, and ultimately the one thing those who choose to set foot on such a street have in common – the love for reading.

To see more photos, check the open album below or go to Flickr:
Photo Album Flickr
(Please use the left/right arrows to navigate in the files of the open album)

All photos by Trieu Anh
Words by Duy Nguyen

5 thoughts on “Saigon’s Book Street | A Great Destination for Book Lovers”

  1. I really love the street book because when I go to the bookstore , it make me uncomfortable about the noise and the crowed. But when you go to the street you can wander outside around all day, it not limited abou the space. and it the best choice for whom love book.

  2. People say I am really a bookworm. I really enjoy reading and whenever I come to this place, I found myself get lost in a heaven of book. Moreover, this place is a ideal place for taking some beautiful photoshoots.

    Thanks for sharing!

  3. Books have always been my source of inspiration. And such place with books on various topics as Nguyen Van Binh Street, obviously, is my Paradise. Just imagine after wholly absorbing in your books of choice, you have someone keep you company and chat about those books’ content, how wonderful it would be.
    I definitely spare my time for a visit to this street.

  4. It’s so fortunate that my university is very closed to Saigon’s Book Street. So me and my friends often go there and buy some favorite books when we finish studying. You absolutely can spend all day there without feeling any bored.

  5. I’ve walked through the Book Street twice and I would say, it was just so amazing. You can find various publications of many genres at different kiosks. Bookworms like me would love this place, I guarantee.

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