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"SangSang Publications"

Wonderful dreams making life more fragrant

 

2017.12.01

 

SangSang is a publisher in South Korea that resembles a friend on a journey. Whether you're planning a busy trip to a far place, or a short journey to a close by destination, SangSang provides books that can accompany all kinds of travelers that are fun and chock full of information. The company is now nine years old and one of South Korea's travel-specific publishers. Their books provide information on traveling both inside South Korea and abroad and offer a plethora of themes everyone who is itching to travel can enjoy. The publisher has broadened its boundaries to include books on cooking and essays.
SangSang, means 'to imagine' in Korean and the word goes well with travel. We are always seeking to travel to new, exotic locations and even dreaming about these destinations is sometimes enough to get us through the day. The publisher's mantra goes, "Wonderful dreams always make life more fragrant" and their books may have already made readers' lives more fruitful. We interviewed Cheol-sang Yoo, the founder of SangSang who was once a travel reporter who later turned writer of travel books. Now he creates good books based on free imagination and passion.

 

 

KPIPA

Can you introduce your business to the readers of our webzine both inside and outside South Korea?

 

Yoo

SangSang is a publisher with a very firm foundation that focuses on travel-related books. We not only have a Self-Travel series that has information on foreign destinations for backpackers, but we also have the 100 series that introduces 100 locations in one book. We also create books that carry unique travel information on locations in South Korea, essays and recipes. How Far Have You Traveled in Our Country? 56 received a tourism of South Korea star award in 2012 while Hokkaido Self-Travel and South Korea's 100 Hidden Travel Destinations both ranked first among travel books when they were published. How Far Have You Traveled in Our Country? 56 was also partially used in Korean textbooks for ninth graders in 2012. 
As we create books that mainly aim to provide information, we always think from the readers' point of view from the beginning to the end. Endless meetings between the writers, editors and designers are held to discuss what readers need most, what kind of information they need most. This is something we've been doing since 2009 when SangSang was first established and it's what we plan to keep doing.

 

KPIPA

What is the reason you insist on publishing travel books? Could you tell us what positive or unique points there are to creating travel books?

 

Yoo

Before I founded this company, I used to work as a travel reporter for a decade. After, I was the editor in chief at a travel magazine called AB Road and later moved to manage the travel publishing team at Random House. I forged my own path in 2009. I thought specializing in travel books would be a surefire way to create a specific color for SangSang. My experience as a travel reporter paid off in building our foundation as I knew travel authors from my previous career.

 

 

Of the 176 books we've published over the past 9 years, more than 120 have been on travel. I think our strongest point and what sets us apart is that we quickly catch on to what readers need most in terms of information. When our authors who specialize in travel pinpoint a location expected to become popular, we confirm that location through internal reviews and meetings. The projects progress quite quickly after. Once we settle on a destination or project theme, we create an official project plan and continue talking amongst ourselves looking at various tourism statistics. During this part, we look at what travel locations South Koreans like visiting, whether they plan to revisit those locations and what the media believes next year's trends will be. As they are travel books, we definitely take into account direct flight routes provided by various airlines. Most recently after this review process, we released  Da Nang, Nha Trang Self Travel and  Tsushima Island Self Travel  and we are now preparing a similar book on Vladivostok.

 

 

KPIPA 

So much thought must go into cover design or what the books look like as they are travel books. We have heard SangSang creates e-books.

 

Yoo

More often than not our books are usually taken to travel locations and we try to make our books lighter and thinner than other guide books from other publishers. We try to filter out information readers don't need to make the books that way,and we've also lowered the prices. Recently, many travelers obtain travel information through the Internet and their smartphones, so we are trying to maintain a stake in that field as well. In the case of our Self-Travel series application, we developed it with the help of an e-publication firm and injected all the content in our books inside the application. You can use it with the Google Map to instantly know where you are and we created the application so users can also check exchange rates and the weather in addition to other key bits of information one needs when on the go.

 

KPIPA

What other books do you publish aside travel guides?

 

Yoo

Many of our readers like travel and have much interest in travel books, but actual readership tends to come and go with the weather. Our travel books get much love in the summer and winter, but that love tends to fade a bit when spring and fall roll around. Around this time, our books for practical use like cookbooks tend to pick up the slack. In our catalog, 70 percent are travel books while 10 percent are cookbooks and the rest are essays and books on other themes.

 

 

Up until now, we've released 15 cookbooks and one that comes to mind is Sung-sil Moon's Nowadays Cooking that was released in 2013 which has 365 recipes that are both fun and tasty. The book has been printed a total of 18 times and we've sold roughly 57,000 copies of it. Oven Cooking, published in 2014 was also popular with its recipes that utilize ovens as it sold 20,000 copies and was later sold into China and Taiwan. We usually look for food researchers or experts as our cookbook authors. Our essay publications just launched last year. We've been quickly talking to movie starts, famous photographers and well-known travel authors on social media for those to garner attention from the younger generation and the response has been positive so far.

 

 

 

KPIPA

We noticed you're also one of the authors for the travel books. What would be one location you can recommend to foreign travelers who are thinking of visiting South Korea?

 

Yoo

I really want to recommend the five main palaces of Seoul. Gyeongbok Palace, Changdeok Palace, Changgyeong Palace, Deoksu Palace, Gyeonghui Palace and Jongmyo -- all of these are places where South Korea's history and culture can easily be seen and where South Korea's beauty is visible to the naked eye. I am already aware many foreigners go to the palaces when they first visit Seoul, but I would like to recommend them once more.
On top of that, one of our books Travel Seoul on Weekends has 100 locations that are must-visits in the capital. We spent more than two and a half years researching content for this books and it was also turned into an e-book. The video we shot of some of the palaces was used in the e-book, which was later designated by KPIPA as an e-book of excellence. The book has also been translated into Chinese and Japanese and would be of good use for tourists in Seoul.

 

KPIPA

Lastly, could you recommend some books from SangSang for our overseas readers?

 

 

Yoo

I'll recommend books that focus on South Korea. South Korea's Hidden Destinations 100 is one of our bestsellers that has sold over 50,000 copies. We introduce 100 travel routes categorized into themes and seasons in one book. We tried to select locations that were not previously well known so it's perfect for those in search of unique destinations with no crowds.
Travel around the Country is a guide book for South Korea we recently published a revamped version of for 2018. We divided travel routes in South Korea based on actual bus routes and the book has so much information on what to see, experience, eat and sleep. Many foreigners who visit South Korea make a beeline to Seoul and Jeju Island, but this is a good book for those wanting to go somewhere else. I mentioned this book earlier, but Travel Seoul on Weekends deals with the entirety of Seoul. Inside the book there is a separate section for tips on travel and it features many photographs that are certain to be of much actual help for travelers roaming through Seoul.

 

 

Aside these, we have Global Cultural Heritage Bible - South Korea that educates readers on South Korea's cultural heritage and The Chef's Matjip(delicious eateries) where famous chefs provide a peek into their favorite eateries. Let's Meet in the Alley is another interesting book showcasing interesting but hidden alleyways in Seoul via interviews and illustrations.

 

 

link SangSang website : http://www.esangsang.co.kr

link SangSang blog: http://blog.naver.com/sangsang_pub

 

 


Arranged by Myung-im Nam

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