Tuesday, January 25, 2011

In Yogyakarta, Preloved Books Lessen the Load

Every city worthy of tourist attention seems to have an area that caters to backpackers and budget travelers. Jakarta has Jalan Jaksa, Bali has Kuta has Poppies Lane, and Yogyakarta has Jalan Sosrowijayan, which features budget homestays, Western-style cafes, convenience stores and pushy becak (rickshaw) drivers.

Like any other backpacker haunt, the street has several bookstores where travelers who drift through the city can sell, buy and exchange books.

The bookstores come in handy for those looking to find interesting novels and travel guidebooks, and are great places to kill time late in the afternoon before heading out to spend the night drinking.

Two of the area’s best bookstores are located on a famous narrow alley, Gang I.

They stand across the street from each other, amid a crowd of good cheap inns and the alley’s legendary restaurant, Superman.

Sri Winarni, or Wina, has been running one of the shops, The Lucky Boomerang, since 1997.

She and her brother decided to open a bookstore because they realized most foreigners who travel love reading books.

“Back then, I saw that many of the tourists who stayed here in the area had books with them,” Wina said.

“That was when I realized books are something travelers need to kill time while traveling.”

She started buying used books for her shop, including many purchased from the tourists who stayed in the neighborhood.

Years went by and today her shop is filled with books from all over the world.

Her customers come from countries such as Australia, the United States and the Netherlands.

Meanwhile, Deddy Darmawan Rumekso started selling secondhand books over a year ago because he needed “something to fill the empty space” in his motorbike and bicycle rental shop, Dunia Santai (which means Laid-Back World).

Full article by Ade Mardiyati

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