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South Korea’s Key Publishing Related Organizations

 

2019.07.08

 

In South Korea's publishing industry, there are many private organizations. Inside these organizations are members who work for competing businesses, but inside the groups they seek interests and order for the greater good. They also help pass on voices from inside the industry to a larger audience. The following are organizations key to South Korea's publishing industry linked to production, distribution, sales and research.

The most representative of publishers' groups would be the Korean Publishers Association, founded in 1947. Inside the group are all kinds of publishers, big and small. So far the association has worked towards creating an order for distribution within South Korea as well as resolving several issues related to the publishing environment. It has also been a driving force for projects aimed at developing the industry on a whole. The association has acted as a window for book deliveries to National Library of Korea and the National Assembly Library. The statistics that have been collected so far regarding these deliveries are extensively used as publishing and issuance data. For communication and external relations, the association publishes a monthly newsletter as well as a yearbook. It also hosts international book fairs and participates in others. Every June, it hosts the Seoul international book fair. It also creates special exhibits for Korean books at book fairs in Frankfurt, Bologna, London, Paris, Beijing and Tokyo. On every October 11, which is Book Day in South Korea marking the completion date of the Tripitaka Koreana(UNESCO World Heritage Site), the association holds a ceremony to award publishers who have played prominent roles in the industry. It is also responsible for projects linked to annual book recommendations for underage students, South Korean book exports and handing out awards to model book collectors.

Meanwhile, the Korea Publisher Society founded in 1998 is an organization of publishers who specialize in independent volumes which also operates the Seoul Book Institute as an auxiliary institution, aiming to cultivate publishing professionals. The curriculum of the institute spans everything from publishing planning, editing, and marketing to design. Also on every World Book Day(April 23) the Society holds celebratory events to boost reading. Previously the Society used to publish bestseller lists in major bookstores every week, although it does not anymore. It has continued to strive for a rational publishing distribution system and also operated a reading university. Every year, the society hosts the Asian Publishers Fellowship Program and invites young publishers from all over Asia to shore up networking, encouraging them to discuss current events and issues. Every December, the Society selects the publisher of the year to recognize them for their efforts in the development of the industry.

 

Aside these, there are many other publishing related organizations, including the Korea Academy Publishing Association, Korea Science & Technology Publisher's Association, Korean Study Materials Association, Korea Christian Publishers Association, Association of Korean University Presses, the Korean Association of Children's Book Publishers and Korea Publishing Marketers Conference. In addition to these, there are other groups formed by publishers for greater public good, like the Korean Publishers Cooperative founded in 1958 that plays a key role in publications distribution, logistics and supply. This group was commissioned by the district officials of Mapo-gu in Seoul to operate the Gyeongui Line Book Street.

Meanwhile, the Korean Publishing Foundation founded in 1969 provides financial support including loans for publishers and projects for the broader benefit of the publishing industry. The Korean Publishing Research Institute founded in 1986 is a research facility that carries out study projects regarding publishing and it hosts publishing forums and hands out related awards. It also conducts reading status surveys of Korean citizens. The Book Trade Promotion Center founded in 2003 hosts international forums and partakes in publishing informatization projects. Bookcity Culture Foundation founded in 2003 manages Paju Book City sitting close to Seoul and the Asia Publishing Culture Information Center. It launches a children's book event every spring and in the fall, it holds the Paju Booksori Festival and hosts international publishing forums.

Founded in 1958, the Korea Federation of Bookstore Association represents South Korean bookstores. It especially acts as a voice for small to medium sized bookstores and has made efforts for fixed book prices, informatization of bookstores, national bookstore surveys and bookstore schools. In 2016, it declared November 11 as Bookstore Day and is currently working to create a certification system for regional bookstores to supply libraries.

The group Citizen Action for Reading Culture jointly founded in 2001 by relative organizations, is a civic group that promotes reading. It has been responsible for the "Library of Miracles" project, aimed at creating libraries for children only, as well as other efforts to create and manage libraries. The group works to boost reading culture inside the country by launching projects like "Book Start" and operating book clubs in addition to other reading-related projects that includes government and private organizations.

The Korean Publishing Science Society founded in 1969 is a distinguished academic body that carries out research related to publishing. Its key programs include hosting regular academic conventions, issuing academic journals, hosting publishing policy roundtables, hosting international academic publishing conferences including those with China and giving out awards.

 

Numerous other groups apart from these mentioned are also currently making efforts towards expanding the publishing culture in South Korea, working in their own respective areas. There are critical views saying there are too many small groups jumbled together, but 'variety' and 'harmony' are values respected within the publishing society.

 

 


Written by Won-keun Baek(President of Books & Society Institute)

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Won-keun Baek(President of Books & Society Institute)

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