For a large number of visitors to Phuket relaxing on the beach, or by the pool and reading a good book go hand in hand. For many, this is what they’ve been waiting for since their last holiday, getting away from the daily stresses of work and living a laid back existence until the day they have to return back home. A lot of people on holiday read more than they usually do at home. This often means that the books they’ve been saving to read on holiday or they’ve chosen at the duty free book shop at the airport prior to departure will be finished well before the end of the holiday. They will then be faced with any bookworm’s nightmare situation, not having another book to read.
However, it’s not only those on holiday who are faced with this problem, I am, and I’m sure a number of other expats living in Phuket are book addicts. Yes, I know that kindles and alike are all the rage right now, but for me, there’s nothing quite like having the real thing in your hand. There are a number of bookstores on the island, but unfortunately what English language books they do have are expensive and very limited on subjects, usually focusing on travel, language or cookery.
Luckily for me and all other book addicts on the island, whether here temporarily or permanently, there’s a second hand book store right in the centre of Phuket Town which offers a perfect mix of books on travel, language, classics, murders, travel, best sellers and also some great bed time reading.
Khun Gai is the owner of South Wind Books and she’s been in the second hand book business now for 15 years. However, it was her husband, a serious book junkie himself, and who now runs this enchanting Aladdin’s cave, who was the person who had the vision and imagination to setup this small but popular business after growing tired of having to travel to Bangkok to feed his addiction.
It was in 2000, after noticing a second hand book stall at a local Sunday market that he decided he wanted to set up a little second-hand bookshop, and to start he set up with a few shelves of his own small collection of literally 30 pieces of literature. At that time Phuket had no book store, and the shop was instantly popular with travelling readers who would come and happily browse the shelves. They then started to trade in English-language books and gradually their collection grew, not only in size, but also language choices, and today South Wind Books is home to over 60,0000 titles not only in English, but also Italian, Dutch, German, French, Thai, Russian and Chinese, and not only are the books separated by language, the English language books are broken down into subject categories and in strict alphabetical order.
South Wind Books don’t buy books from customers; they only deal with in store credit. Should you have any books you wish to trade, bring your books to the shop and you’ll be told a price which they are willing to pay and which can be used as credit to purchase the books of your choice form their collection. Condition of the books is their primary concern. They do accept books of all subjects, genres and ages, provided they are in good condition. Creased and slightly damaged books are not deal breakers, but it will affect the amount they offer you. If you don’t have books to trade you can simply purchase any books from the shop at the prices clearly marked on the cover. Furthermore, should you wish to return books you have taken from the shop you will be offered a 50% refund credit on the price you paid for the book. South Wind Books also has a large sale section where all books are on offer at only 80 Baht.