Even in the middle of the Gobi Desert in Outer Mongolia, people love their books.
But if you can’t go to the library, then the library must come to you.
But of course, most Mongolians live in Ulaanbaatar (Ulan Bator if you’re old school) and there there’s a great range of books and bookstores to choose from.
This crop of a map of the Mongolian capital shows a cluster of book stores, among which a couple of names are worth highlighting here.
Internom is the biggest bookstore chain in Mongolia. This particular Internom store is the Internom Shangri-La store, in the Shangri-La Centre. Note the the store name is in the Latin alphabet even though Mongolia uses the Cyrillic alphabet.
This from the Shangri-La Centre’s online guide, which, yes, is in English.
Established in 2000, Mongolia’s biggest bookshop offers a rich selection of magazines, DVDs, office stationeries and of course an abundant collection of books. Our shops regularly host book openings and public discussions as well as other cultural events.
Aiming at the best service and convenience for our customers, the Internom culture store has recently opened in the centrally located Shangri-la mall, where readers can make their choice among a both Mongolian and English language books, gifts and souvenirs. We are proud that our new Shangri-la branch has become a popular venue for book openings, author interviews and meetings.
Wait. What? English-language books being sold in Outer Mongolia?! Is there nowhere on the planet beyond the reach of this nonsense?
Well, since you ask, no.
But let’s stay with Outer Mongolia for now, because a second look at that map will reveal, on Peace Street in the capital, a stone’s throw from the big-name players, Books In English, a store given over totally to English-language books.
Just below Books In English on the map you’ll find Az Khur, which as well as being a bricks & mortar store doubles as Mongolia’s biggest online store.
There’s also a very small ebook store operating in Mongolia, but embarrassingly I appear to have misfiled that detail somewhere. I’ll update this post at a later date if and when it comes to light again.
Mongolia is a big country with a small population (just 3 million), but 2 million of those are online, and 1.9 million of those are on Facebook, so no excuses from any authors / publishers complaining there’s no way to promote books in Mongolia so it’s not worth bothering with.
The global book market is always bigger than you think.