Mirae N's children's book publishing arm I-Seum was established in 2000. The name I-Seum means "to help children and young adults who will lead the future to create their own thoughts". The publisher has established itself in the industry as one that has succeeded in exporting learning comics, books on liberal arts and general education, workbooks for young children and other educational material. Their books have proved to be fun and useful in diverse areas. The following provides a look into I-Seum's vision for the future as a publisher that wishes to become a stepping stone for children who will create their own awesome world and a lighthouse for those children through a variety of books with new insight.
Mirae N's children's book publishing arm I-Seum
As a publisher specializing in children's books, I-Seum has been publishing various books from learning comics, books on liberal arts and general education, workbooks for young children to other educational material. What is most important to the company when planning and producing publications? We're curious to know if I-Seum's books have a unique factor that sets them apart.
Mirae N's slogan is "New learning, the embodiment of bigger joy". I-Seum aims to help children understand joy and realize that joy through education as a foundation. Regardless of the form of content, I-seum's identity is to pursue both education and fun, and we try to combine those values in all our work.
We have a large array of publications. Our key publications are our many book series that have sold steadily in markets and are considered as classics that serve as foundations for reading and learning. As people's bodies grow, their learning histories grow with them, and we think there are imperative books that need to be read at certain points in their lives. These books can be the basics of liberal arts or literature, or basics in school education. The bulk of our books at I-Seum try to help children joyfully read with little pushback. In order to do that, books should have a firm goal, and in order to keep a certain level of quality, writers and editors need to be focused at the core. They should have the stability to create books without being shaken by changing factors, and this is a unique characteristic of I-Seum books.
I-Seum aims to help children understand joy and realize
that joy through education as a foundation.
Children's books share the fact they are for children's minds, but they can all be different based on their surrounding culture. Are there any parts you take particular care of, in order to approach children more easily? Also, what has the response been like from countries you've exported your books to?
We take many things into consideration when developing a book series, like the amount of information or fun in the content and probability of storylines. However, we have found young readers really love charismatic characters. And the characters that readers love in each country our books have been published in all vary little by little. In Japan, Jio and Pipi from our <Surviving> series, in China Pangyi and Tori from the <Treasure Hunt> series and in Taiwan, Universe and Element from <Tomorrow, I'm the Experiment King> have proven to be popular. We take particular care in making the characters that children love consistent in the books.
<Treasure Hunt> series
I-Seum's seen much success in overseas markets including the United States, Japan, China, Taiwan and Europe, becoming a leader in publishing K-books. What was your unique strength that made it possible for you to succeed in those markets and what books are popular in those countries?
Our <Surviving> series, <Treasure Hunt> series and <Tomorrow, I'm the Experiment King> have been successful in several Asian countries. These books are learning comics but as fun as ordinary animations. Most children's books for learning focus on delivering knowledge, but our book series have spectacular scenes, thrilling stories and detailed emotions that our writers and editors spend much time on creating. This would be the same for our webtoon-like features that are detailed and draw in readers. Content that readers can focus on and the stories that keep readers curious about what's coming next are most likely our strengths that have contributed to our global success.
<Britannica Educational> series is different from our previous comic book series. It is an educational encyclopedia series that has been received well from critics for its trustworthy information, high-quality editing and design. The series has seen sales skyrocket in China, even more so than in South Korea, because Chinese consumers prefer encyclopedia series that have numerous books. This popularity most likely stems from the fact our books have universally acceptable information unrelated to specific regions or social sentiment, accurate labels and copyright legitimacy. This universality and good content in our classic content have also contributed to our successful entry in global markets.
<Tomorrow, I'm the Experiment King> series
Content that readers can focus on and the stories that keep readers curious about
what's coming next are most likely our strengths that have contributed to our global success.
Last June, I-Seum showed off much content focusing on experience at the 2019 Seoul International Book Fair. You've been creating a wide range of content for children. What would be your competitive edge over other children's book publishers?
People say there are fewer people reading every day, but people are actually continuously reading things and wanting content that is fun, touching and educational. Even if it's not paper books, good content is leading culture and markets by taking shape in different forms. It is only natural that one form of content that consumers love can be recreated in different forms of media. I-Seum has a vision that has kept in tune with the change of time that the company should boost its competitiveness through content in addition to books. The YouTube videos for our <Surviving> series and desk supplies using our <Butt Detective> character all saw good responses from consumers at the Seoul International Book Fair. A great example of written work turned into animation, <A Commonly Seen Pair of Sister and Brother>, was formally introduced at the book fair, heightening the level of excitement at the event. Going forward, we plan to make diverse attempts involving digital media, videos and consumer goods.
<Butt Detective> series
<A Commonly Seen Pair of Sister and Brother> series
What other plans do you have for expanding your presence in markets both at home and abroad? We'd also like to ask you about your goals.
I-Seum has many export achievements under its belt over the years, but we've only been able to export books to China, Japan and the United States among the top 10 countries with the biggest publishing markets. The Spanish language market is the biggest language market after English and Chinese, and we've yet to enter this market. However, our competitiveness has been proven through our export success in 14 different countries and we plan to expand our exports through our know-how and self-confidence. Children around the world may speak different languages, but the fact that they all love reading fun books is the same. And with this in mind, we plan to continue carrying out our vision: "New learning, the embodiment of bigger joy". I-Seum was also selected for KOTRA's export support program for 2020, and we plan to create even more meaningful growth.
Is there anything you'd like to say to readers outside South Korea interested in publications for children?
So much content produced in South Korea, whether they be television dramas, movies or variety shows, tie together stories, create charisma and have powerful strength that captures the eyes and hearts of those that view it. The positive combination of developers who understand the unlimited potential of content and consumers who love excellent content and disseminate it not only aids the development of the culture industry but also makes the lives of individuals plentiful and fun. This is the same for children's publications, and we will work further to help children learn and enjoy everything in a diverse way.
Arranged by KIM Young-Ihm