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Korean Publishers

 

JECHEOLSO Publishing House

A place where stories beneficial to our lives are born in the right season

 

2022.04.04

 

“Just right” means that there is something that is neither too much nor too little of a certain standard, condition, or degree. So, being “just right” in a way that satisfies these conditions is a difficult and knotty challenge. The name JECHEOLSO Publishing House, introduced in this interview, means “just the right season” in Korea. Like seasonal food is good for your health; this publisher hopes to deliver good stories of the “right season” to its readers. Following is an interview with Kim Tae-Hyung, head of JECHEOLSO Publishing House, a single-person publishing company that vividly shows its own color and goes beyond the limitations of its kind with the power of solidarity.

 

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Logo of JECHEOLSO Publishing House

 

 

Please introduce JECHEOLSO Publishing House to people in the overseas publishing market.

 

JECHEOLSO Publishing House opened in the late fall of 2015. It is a small publishing company run by the editor, myself. It has been making various books, mainly of literature and art; the essay series titled Anyway, which chooses and talks about one topic that makes you happy by just thinking about it, and the interview collection The Working Heart, a series that talks about the stories of people working in different fields, are steadily published.

 

It has become the era of single-person publishers, and as a result, books of unique, various colors are being born in this world. So what is the particular field representing the unique color of JECHEOLSO Publishing House?

 

For single-person publishers, I think the preference or field of interest of that “one person” largely determines the direction of projects. For JECHEOLSO, it is play/drama. So, the first book was a play collection as well. In fact, choosing a play collection as the first book was like a challenge and adventure, because it is not an area with a strong readership in the publishing market. Still, I wanted to present plays with excellent literary quality to the “readers,” not the “audience.” So, including Your Lost Things, a serial play collection of young Korean playwriters, JECHEOLSO has published 5 Korean play collections until today. I’m planning to publish two more of them this year. In the longer term, I’m also thinking of making a play series with good foreign plays that are not well known in Korea.

 

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Your Lost Things

 

 

Among the books of JECHEOLSO, what would you like to recommend to our readers?

 

First of all, The Publishing Heart. This is the first book of The Working Heart series, an interview collection. From writers and translators to editors, designers, producers, marketers, and bookstore MDs, the book talks about the hearts of those involved in publishing books. I’m particularly attached to this book as it is the first outcome of the series project. The joy of having a project that started in the editor’s head go through several processes and come out as a book is still vivid. If you are interested in the publishing culture in Korea, the book will be of great help. Also, I recommend reading The Translating Heart, the most recent title added to the series. It contains stories of those working in the interpretation and translation industry, covering areas from publication to film, sign language, law, and the military.
Also, Anyway, Alcohol, one of the Anyway series, is the book that made “essayist Kim Hon-Bi” known to the public. It was particularly loved by readers among other books of JECHEOLSO. You might be able to fall into the charm of essays that have both fun and implications.
Lastly, I would like to recommend reading Women Don’t Cry, an anthological play collection of women playwriters in Korea. There are four act plays that depict the life of a three-dimensional and multifaceted woman in her own language, breaking away from the stereotypes of existing plays that objectify or stereotype female figures. In addition, it will be an opportunity to think deeply about various issues surrounding women living in Korean society, such as sexual violence, emotional labor, pregnancy, marriage, singles and old age, etc.

 

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The Publishing Heart, The Translating Heart, Anyway, Alcohol, Women Don’t Cry

 

 

JECHEOLSO received much attention from readers when it published the Anyway series with publishers Conanpress and Hugo Books. Can you introduce to us the series and how the three publishers got together for the project?

 

The Anyway series began with the question, “Do you have one thing that makes you feel good by just thinking about it?” This is an essay series that talks about one thing you don’t want to miss in an era where cost-effectiveness determines consumption, and where there is no time to have even a little fun in daily life due to long hours of work.
I and the heads of Conanpress and Hugo Books met as editors at a publisher in the past. We set up our own publisher around the same time, and as single-person publishers have limitations to an extent, we agreed to make a series that the three of us can continue working on. The concept and the target audience were clear from the planning stage. Also, as the three publishers had different characteristics and accessible readership, we had faith that we would be able to fill the series with abundant colors. When we launched the series, we made a promise–to not have strict standards within the large boundary of the idea “anyway” and make the best out of our characteristics when planning new volumes. I think that this loose solidarity is the biggest power that has been supporting the Anyway series until today.

 

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The Anyway series

 

 

JECHEOLSO Publishing House also has The Working Heart series other than the Anyway series. Can you introduce to us that series and how you planned it?

 

The Working Heart is a series of interview collections where the interviewer meets people working in certain fields, observes how they work, and examines how the work is connected to individual lives and society. Beginning with The Publishing Heart in 2018, I published The Literary Heart, The Documentary Heart, The Artistic Heart, The Traveling Heart, and The Translating Heart. I’m preparing to publish The Architectural Heart and The Drama Heart in 2023 as well.
This was the first series that I planned as I was preparing to launch a publishing company. I wanted to have that one series that first comes to mind when people think of JECHEOLSO Publishing House. I believe that there is an attitude or a perspective that only those who worked for a long time in a single field can have, and I wanted to talk about it through books. I personally like reading interviews as well.

 

Why do you think that many readers love the series mentioned above?

 

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, I think people have begun to pay more attention to taking care of themselves. They started to look for things that give a little joy in their tough lives. And if you truly want to know what you like and what makes you feel accomplished, you have to listen to the stories of those like-minded. We lost so many things due to the pandemic, but I also believe that there are things we earned, too. Wondering about others’ lives is one thing. And like you said, I think this is what makes the two series receive much love from the readers.

 

 

Books that leave an impression on the readers in one way or another,
helping them to move on to the next book naturally like a flow, are what I call good books.

 

 

What is the direction JECHEOLSO pursues, and what are the future plans?

 

I don’t have a grandiose plan. I just hope to publish books over a long time under the name JECHEOLSO. I don’t believe that a book can change the world. But I do believe that it can make little changes in someone’s life, just like it did for me. I think that books have their own voice. I hope the world is filled with various voices. And I hope JECHEOLSO’s books are a small voice among them.

 

Any last comments for our readers?

 

As I sit in front of the proof sheet of the book soon to be published, I imagine the faces of readers opening the book. With those faces in mind, JECHEOLSO will continue to endeavor to put stories of the “right season” beneficial to our lives, not those with flashy popularity, in a bowl called books.

 

 


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#JECHEOLSO#The Working Heart#Anyway#Single-person publishing#Play
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