Kyobo Book Centre opens metaverse-based bookstore

By Kim Joo-heon Posted : December 13, 2021, 16:19 Updated : June 23, 2023, 01:36

[Courtesy of Kyobo Book Centre]

SEOUL -- South Korea's top bookstore franchise Kyobo Book Centre has opened a metaverse-based bookstore for customers who wish to explore the digital replica of an actual bookstore located in central Seoul. Using the new platform, book lovers can purchase books and albums without visiting the actual bookstore.
Metaverse is a virtual environment where various social and cultural activities take place. Each user can create their own personalized characters called "avatars" and access the real world-like virtual world using smartphones, PCs, or virtual reality headsets.  
The virtual bookstore platform called "Metabooks" was released on December 13, Kyobo Book Centre said in a statement. 3D technology was applied to the platform to make users feel as if they are shopping in a real bookstore. Using Metabooks, visitors can look around the digital replica of a Kyobo bookstore located in central Seoul and purchase books, albums and office supplies. Every section of the bookstore was photographed by an omnidirectional camera. Online customers can zoom in and out to take a closer look at displayed books and items.
"We created Metabooks for customers who are unable to visit offline stores because of the COVID-19 pandemic. They can explore the Gwanghwamun branch of Kyobo Book Centre using the online platform," an unnamed Kyobo Book Centre official was quoted as saying. Kyobo Book Centre is one of South Korea's largest online booksellers. 
Various South Korean companies have adopted metaverse platforms to bridge the gap between online and offline spaces. In November 2021, domestic blockchain company Dunamu unveiled a metaverse platform called "2ndblock" where anyone can open real-time meetings such as university lectures and business meetings. Users can go anywhere using avatars and communicate with other members when avatars get closer.
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