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Korean Publishers

 

Changbi Publishers

The Unfathomable Depth of Beauty

 

2022.03.07

 

We all have our own stories that have made us who we are today. Here, Changbi Publishers has a long-established history and tradition, and the publisher has become the way it is now through countless transitions. As it always rose amid severe government oppression, Changbi Publishers was able to keep expanding the spectrum of publishing in the country through endless attempts. The publishing house is actively playing on the global stage, regardless of the genre, from children’s books and literature with touching stories to books containing various knowledge of intellectuals. Also, by using online platforms, it seeks to get closer to readers. Therefore, it is a great time to introduce Changbi Publishers, who are committed to enriching communication with readers by engaging with global trends.

 

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Please introduce Changbi Publishers to those involved in overseas publishing. Also, please tell us the meaning of the name “Changbi.”

 

Changbi Publishers is a comprehensive publishing house that has continuously offered books in various genres such as literature, humanities, liberal arts, children, and young adult fiction since it first printed publications in 1974. As many as over 3,000 different books have been published so far, and around 270 books are offered every year. Changbi Publishers is widely known as one of the most trusted publishers in South Korea.
Changbi, a combination of Korean words “changjag (creation)” and “bipyeong (criticism),” originated from a quarterly magazine Creation and Criticism that was launched in January 1966. At that time, it printed books with a different publisher name. The publisher would grab readers’ attention with refreshing content that took the Korean literary sphere and many intellectuals by storm. Even though the publisher once faced many challenges, such as a restriction banning the sale of its magazine under a military government, discontinuation of publishing, and denial of registration as a publisher, the support from its readers remained solid, making it a leading book publisher today in Korea.

 

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The 2021 edition of Creation and Criticism

 

 

Changbi Publishers is printing books in various genres, including domestic literature. What values is it pursuing in the book planning stage?

 

We are actively printing a variety of books, ranging from inspiring children’s books that infuse children with hope while fostering emotional development and literature with touching stories to books containing knowledge of intellectuals at home and abroad who are exploring new civilizations. Changbi Publishers has a great deal of pride in publishing high-quality content that it handpicks.

 

Changbi Publishers is a publishing house that has maintained its position for over 40 years. What do you think is the driving force behind its long-term existence as a publisher?

 

Our motto is a four-character idiom “beobgochangsin (法古創新),” meaning “Be consistent but always new.” Changbi Publishers has always taken on new challenges, not resting on its laurels just as it never gave up on publishing socially critical writings when it was under political oppression and courageously pioneered children’s literature and young adult fiction when the genre was rarely known to Korean publishers. Such a determination has dramatically driven the growth of Changbi Publishers.

 

As one of the leading book publishers in Korea, Changbi Publishers owns various books. What are the three most well-known books among them?

 

It is quite difficult to choose as Changbi Publishers has been in the literature industry for a very long time while publishing many books. But, if we have to choose, we’d pick the beloved book My Exploration of Cultural Heritage by Yu Hong-June, Please Look After Mom by Shin Kyung-Sook, and a long children’s story, Children of Kwaeng-I-Bu-Ri Village by Kim Jung-Mi.

 

My Exploration of Cultural Heritage

 

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Please Look After Mom, Children of Kwaeng-I-Bu-Ri Village, D.H. Lawrence, A Western Gaebyeok Thinker

 

 

Is there any book to recommend to our subscribers? Please explain along with the reason.

 

Paik Nak-chung, founder of the magazine Creation and Criticism and Changbi Publishers, is a great scholar, representing the Korean intellectual sphere. One of his leading works, D.H. Lawrence, A Western Gaebyeok Thinker, is an unmatched literary work that associated the Gaebyeok ideology of the Korean Peninsula into Lawrence’s attempt to overcome the limitations of Western philosophical history. We’d like to recommend the book to readers worldwide.

 

Changbi Publishers has been publishing young adult fiction books that grabbed readers’ attention, such as Almonds, Paint, and The Picture Bride. What do you think made young adult fiction so popular in recent years? And please explain along with the motto for Changbi Publishers when making these books.

 

We are seeking to make books that leave teenagers a meaningful impression, so much so that they would think, “It’s a blessing that I read the book before growing up.” Teenagers experience high-intensity emotions, making the period the perfect time to embrace diverse perspectives, including science fiction or fantasy genres. Also, today’s teenagers are a group of readers with a refined taste as they naturally engage with new media platforms like webtoon or web fiction. If teenagers have fun when reading, we believe that they could dive into the breadth and depth of reading in adulthood. In that sense, we strive to offer stories that are fun, inspiring, universal, and high quality.

 

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Almonds, Paint, and The Picture Bride

 

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Snowglobe, and Yuwon

 

 

In particular, Almonds made a successful debut in overseas markets. So what kind of efforts is Changbi Publishers putting in, and what role does it play to help good books successfully enter overseas markets?

 

Almonds is the most successful case in recent years as we contracted with many foreign publishers across 21 languages. The demand from overseas publishers has been steady for a long time. Still, over the past three or four years, overseas attention for the book has risen significantly, leading to an increase in actual contracts and publication in other languages. A lot of attention has been drawn to young adult novels like Almonds, such as Snowglobe, Paint, Yuwon, The Picture Bride, or children’s books like Carrot Kindergarten, A Dictionary of Nine-year-old’s Hearts, Black Cat Ggamnyang, the Problem Solver. Also, adult books, such as The Joy and Sorrows of Work, The Love in the Big City, Lemon and The Good Discriminator, won the hearts of leading foreign publishers.
These literary works, of course, have a captivating story as they were first recognized and beloved by Korean readers. In addition to its content, what drove the overseas expansion of these books was the effort to enthusiastically promote the works to overseas publishers and those involved in the industry. Changbi Publishers has a member in charge of managing the copyrights of the books, enabling a more active and targeted overseas promotion and export activities. For example, the publisher gives updates on most of its new literary works, right after their publication, to foreign publishing houses and agents by regularly sending English newsletters, in addition to its active response to inquiries related to copyrights or materials offered.

 

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Carrot Kindergarten, A Dictionary of Nine-year-old’s Hearts, and Black Cat Ggamnyang, the Problem Solver

 

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The Joy and Sorrows of Work, The Love in the Big City, Lemon, and The Good Discriminator

 

 

Last year, Changbi Publishers launched a comprehensive reading experience platform, “Switch (Story with Changbi).” Please tell us about the platform and what do you expect from it?

 

Switch is a comprehensive reading experience platform that provides users with all-around experiences, such as online book clubs, reading serialized publications, opportunities to join lectures and book reviewing groups. The platform is available on the website (switch.changbi.com) and Android and iOS apps.
There are various book clubs with different themes, including one, “Club Creation and Criticism,” where members read the quarterly magazine Creation and Criticism, and another club that aims to fully read a book every month. The Club Creation and Criticism boasts a high re-registration rate, and thus it currently has sixth-generation members. The clubs in Switch have various themes, such as transcribing poems every day for 3 weeks and reading and watching SF movies and novels together. In some clubs, authors present a reading mission and encourage members to read with cheerful comments. As a result, the program is receiving positive feedback.
In the serialized publication section, you can read new literary works of famous writers before publication for free. Several books, such as To the Moon by Jang Ryu-Jin and Diary by Hwang Jung-Eun were printed on paper after they were first published and got popular in Switch. Currently, new novels written by Kim Keum-Hee and Jeong Yi-Hyun and poems by Park Yeon-Jun are being serialized on the platform.
Also, Switch offers various experience programs, such as pre-publication book reviews or a book talk show that gives the author’s lectures online.
The reading platform is growing as a platform that offers a fulfilling reading experience by closely connecting authors and readers. As it is directly run by Changbi Publishers, the platform is capable of providing a variety of reading experiences to readers, which is one of its benefits. Readers can experience reading more deeply by first meeting literary works that are serialized on Switch before publishing, and attending a book club lecture with authors after their books are published. Also, by running online book clubs and events, the platform meets the needs of readers who had a thirst for offline events, which were reduced due to the extended coronavirus pandemic and readers who live outside the metropolitan area and have difficulty joining them. Most authors have found the platform satisfactory as they can communicate more closely with readers and see their feedback fast through serialization, book clubs, lecture, etc.

 

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Diary, and To the Moon

 

 

Looking at Changbi’s significant footprints, we are very much looking forward to its future. We wonder what is the direction and future plan for Changbi Publisher?

 

All the members of Changbi Publishers said that they feel most motivated when readers say that they don’t hesitate to read books published by Changbi Publishers, as it is reliable as a publisher. Changbi Publisher will keep publishing books full of insights and delight for readers while actively engaging with global trends.

 

 


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#Changbi Publishers#Creation and Criticism#Young adult fiction#Overseas markets#Switch
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