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Bestseller Keyword - Money

In 2020, Readers Chased After the Flow of Money

 

2021.02.08

 

 

 

The Asian Financial Crisis that broke out in 1997 may have sparked the recent publishing trend of “money” and “wealth” in Korea. At this time when all the conventional wisdom of getting a good job, earning money, and pursuing a stable life without debts has broken, books such as Rich Dad Poor Dad (Minumin) that suggest a new perspective that debt can also be an asset claiming that people need to study about money, and Who Moved My Cheese? (Jinmyoung) that gives a lesson that only those that have overcome fear and adapted to changes can go through challenges, caught readers’ attention. Then, the “get rich fever” in 2002, best represented by the commercial copy - “Hope you become rich!” - of a credit card company, strongly struck the publishing market. Readers, who became anxious due to restructuring in their company, early retirement, and the burden of inflation-driven household expenses, began to blatantly dream of becoming rich unlike before. Specific amounts of money such as 1 billion won, symbolizing “economic freedom” where you can live with financial income without having to continue economic activities, were set as goals. And as it was difficult to fill the bank account with a monthly wage only, people began reading financial books and those related to “investment” and “financial management” such as Country Doctor’s How to Become Rich (Leaders Book) and Dear Young Koreans, Begin Money Management Now! (Hans Media) sold like hotcakes in bookstores.
However, the Global Financial Crisis in 2008 had cut down on the popularity of economics and business administration books, not to mention self-development books. Books such as Currency War (RH Korea) and Dangerous Economics (Thenan Contents Group) had once been popular among readers in a bid to learn the flow of currency and the world economy right after the financial crisis. However, as the famous discourses of economists or advice from mentors did not provide realistic solutions, the disappointed readers turned their eyes to other types of books to seek consolation and better advice. Yet, with the global outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020, the market for economics & business administration and self-development books has revitalized once again.

 

The Having

김미경의 리부트

Secret of the Top 1% in Harvard

The Having, Reboot, Secret of the Top 1% in Harvard

 

The economic crisis driven by COVID-19 has moved the Korean publishing industry’s economics & business administration, and self-development book market.

 

In 2020, Yes 24’s overall bestseller was the self-development book The Having (Suo Books). As essays have been topping the list for the past three years, it is very unusual for The Having to keep its popularity. This book describes insights and cases about wealth and luck in a dialogue between two characters. It has become an issue in the market as it was published first in the United States. Perhaps many people thought of The Secret (Sallin Books) as they flipped the pages, which became a huge phenomenon in 2007. This implies that the economic crisis driven by COVID-19 has brought back the belief that goes, “Wish desperately (for wealth), and it will come true,” in the publishing industry. Also, three books that provide tips and advice for how to live in the world after the end of the pandemic, including Reboot (Woongjin Thinkbig) and Secret of the Top 1% in Harvard (The Korea Economic Daily) have joined the top 20 list of bestsellers. Moreover, four books in the field of economics and business administration - Property of Money (Snowfox Books), You can do it! (Knomad), Trend Korea 2021 (Mirae Books) and The Super Newbie’s Survival Guide to Investing in Stocks (Gilbut) - were also added to the list, showing that readers’ interest pursuing to money has been reflected in the market.

 

〈Table 1. Yes 24’s Integrated List of Bestsellers in 2020 (From Jan. 1 to Nov. 30)〉

Rank Genre Title Author Publisher
1 Self-Development The Having Hong Joo-Yeon,
Lee Seo-Yoon
Suo Books
2 Language/Dictionary Hackers TOEIC Vocabulary: TOEIC VOCA David Cho Hackers Education Group
3 Economics/Business Administration The Property of Money Kim Seung-Ho Snowfox Books
4 Economics/Business Administration You can do it! John Lee Knomad
5 Self-Development Reboot Kim Mi-Kyung Woongjin Thinkbig
6 Novel/Poem/Play Almond Sohn Won-Pyung Changbi
7 Homecare See What They Mean, Say What You Mean: 130 expressions to Start With Oh Eun Young Oh Eun-Young Gimmyoung
8 Essay Take It Easy, Don’t Try Too Hard Kim Soo-Hyun Noll
9 Children Hunhan Nammae 3 Written byHunhan Nammae, Baek Nan-Do/Illustrated byYoo Nan-Hee I-Seum
10 Liberal Arts When I Don’t Even Know What I Want Jeon Seung-Hwan Dasan Books
11 Children Hunhan Nammae 4 Written byHunhan Nammae, Baek Nan-Do/Illustrated byYoo Nan-Hee I-Seum
12 Teenager How Studying Became So Fun Park Sung-Hyuk Dasan Books
13 Natural Science Cosmos Carl Sagan Science Books
14 Liberal Arts Broad and Shallow Knowledge for Intellectual Conversation: Zero Chae Sa-Jang Whalebook
15 Children Seol Min-Seok’s Korean History Adventure Written bySeol Min-Seok, Storybox
/Illustrated byJung Hyun-Hee
I-Human
16 Economics/Business Administration Trend Korea 2021 Kim Nan-Do, Jeon Mi-Young Miraebook
17 Economics/Business Administration The Super Newbie’s Survival Guide to Investing in Stocks (2020) Yoon Jae-Soo Gilbut
18 Self-Development Secret of the Top 1% in Harvard Chung Ju-Yung The Korea Economic Daily
19 Liberal Arts The Intellectual Devotional David S. Kidder,
Noah D. Oppenheim
Wisdom House
20 Language/Dictionary Hackers TOEIC READING David Cho Hackers Education Group

(Source: Yes 24’s Analysis of Bestsellers and Sales Trends in 2020)

 

Then, what kind of economics & business administration books did people read the most last year? The trend of the market can be largely divided into three. Books where legendary investors in the world provide insights about principles of wealth or philosophy such as The Property of Money (Snowfox Books), Great Wealth Transfer (Page 2 Books), and Humanities of Wealth (Open Mind) have been popular in bookstores, proving that many readers yearned to find answers from books to turn the current crisis into an opportunity. Also, these books share a common characteristic that they became bestsellers after being mentioned in YouTube channels related to investment. If books that went viral through online cafes and communities where people share information on investment and money management had been popular until the mid-2000s, books that become hot potatoes in YouTube channels whose URL is shared in Kakaotalk’s open channels are now leading sales performance. This trend has put books such as The Millionaire Fastlane: Crack the Code to Wealth and Live Rich for a Lifetime! (Toth Book) and Rich Dad Poor Dad (Minumin) written by legendary investors that offer insights about wealth and philosophy in the limelight again.

 

Great Wealth Transfer

The Super Newbie’s Survival Guide to Investing in Stocks

Don’t Ever Invest In Stocks If You Don’t Know Financial Statements

Great Wealth Transfer, The Super Newbie’s Survival Guide to Investing in Stocks, Don’t Ever Invest In Stocks If You Don’t Know Financial Statements

 

While the stock market is fluctuating greater than ever before due to the pandemic, stock investment has become a common topic for almost everyone in Korea, creating newly coined terms such as the Donghak Ant Movement (a phenomenon where foreign investors’ short position driven by the uncertainties in the economy has encouraged domestic individuals to buy stock), jurinee (a combination of Korean words jusik (stock) and uhrinee (children), referring to stock beginners), and youngkkul (raking money, even getting loans, to buy stocks). Such trends have affected the publishing market, increasing sales of investment/money management books by 118.2% year on year. Sales of stock/securities-related books soared by 202.1% during the same period in particular. Unlike the mid-2000s when investing in funds had been popular, more people chose to jump into the stock market themselves, boosting sales of books for stock beginners such as The Super Newbie’s Survival Guide to Investing in Stocks and Don’t Ever Invest In Stocks If You Don’t Know Financial Statements.

 

〈Table 2. Sales trends of books about investment/money management and stock/securities during the past three years〉

Period (1/1~11/30) Investment/Money Management Stock/Securities
2018 - -
2019 -4.2% -9.4%
2020 118.2% 202.1%

(Source: Yes 24’s Analysis of Bestsellers and Sales Trends in 2020)

 

The distribution of stock/securities book buyers by gender in 2020 showed that the central age group of economic activity, the 30s, and 40s, accounted for the largest percentage. In particular, the percentage of female buyers increased by 10%p compared to the same period last year, indicating that women's interest in investment has increased. Besides, the proportion of buyers increased in almost all age groups, including those in their 20s and 50s, implying that stock investment has become a hot topic for everyone.

 

〈Table 3. Distribution of stock/securities book buyers by gender and age for the past three years〉

Age 2018 (1/1-11/30) 2019 (1/1-11/30) 2020 (1/1-11/30)
Male Female Sum Male Female Sum Male Female Sum
0-19 0.30% 0.10% 0.40% 0.20% 0.10% 0.30% 0.30% 0.10% 0.50%
20-29 7.10% 3.20% 10.30% 7.20% 3.10% 10.30% 7.00% 3.80% 10.90%
30-39 26.30% 10.40% 36.70% 25.20% 9.50% 34.70% 20.10% 11.60% 31.80%
40-49 24.90% 10.30% 35.20% 25.20% 10.20% 35.30% 21.00% 15.20% 36.20%
50-59 10.60% 3.70% 14.30% 11.70% 4.20% 15.90% 10.70% 6.00% 16.80%
60- 2.60% 0.60% 3.20% 2.80% 0.70% 3.50% 3.00% 1.00% 4.00%
Total 71.70% 28.30% 100% 72.20% 27.80% 100% 62.20% 37.80% 100%

(Source: Yes 24’s Analysis of Bestsellers and Sales Trends in 2020)

 

Another notable trend is the readers’ movement to predict how the world after Corona 19 will be reorganized through books. For example, Trend Korea 2021 (Miraebook), Recession-Proof Career Strategies After COVID (Davinci House), and Uncontact (Pabilion) have gained great popularity as they quickly provided insights about how the market and the world will change in the future and therefore how people should be prepared for the changes after COVID-19.

 

〈Table 4. Yes 24’s List of Bestsellers in Economics & Business Administration in 2020 (From Jan. 1 to Nov. 30)〉

Rank Title Author Publisher
1 The Property of Money Kim Seung-Ho Snowfox Books
2 You can do it! John Lee Knomad
3 Trend Korea 2021 Kim Nan-Do, Jeon Mi-Young, Choi Ji-Hye, Lee Hyang-Eun, Lee Joon-Young Miraebook
4 The Super Newbie’s Survival Guide to Investing in Stocks (2020) Yoon Jae-Soo Gilbut
5 Don’t Ever Invest In Stocks If You Don’t Know Financial Statements Sa Kyung-In Vegabooks
6 Great Wealth Transfer Oh Gun-Young Page 2
7 Humanities of Wealth Brownstone Open Mind
8 The Millionaire Fastlane: Crack the Code to Wealth and Live Rich for a Lifetime! M. J. DeMarco Toth Book
9 Recession-Proof Career Strategies
After COVID
Jason Schenker Davinci House
10 Rich Dad Poor Dad:
20th Anniversary Edition
Robert Kiyosaki Minumin
11 Wealth of Tomorrow 1: Alpha Kim Jang-Sup Trustbooks
12 Loon Shots Safi Bahcall Next Wave Media
13 Uncontact Kim Yong-Sup Publion
14 One Up on Wall Street Peter Lynch, John Rothchild Kukil Stock Economy Research Institute
15 Wealth of Tomorrow 2: Omega Kim Jang-Sup Trustbooks
16 People Born in the 90s are Coming Lim Hong-Tek Whalebook
17 Trend Korea 2020 Kim Nan-Do, Jeon Mi-Young, Choi Ji-Hye, Lee Hyang-Eun, Lee Joon-Young Miraebook
18 Buy Stock, Buy Future (Re-cover Edition) John Lee The Korea Economic Daily
19 A Quest for Global Peace Daisaku Ikeda, Joseph Rotblat Joongang Books
20 Secrets to Stock Investment by Santa Santa Business Books

(Source: Yes 24’s Analysis of Bestsellers and Sales Trends in 2020)

 

Korea’s publishing market for economics & business administration books is transforming rapidly to catch up with the diversifying global economy.

 

The year 2020 was a golden year for economics & business administration books, starting with The Having, as people, more than ever, tried to grasp the new opportunity in the changing market amidst another crisis struck by COVID-19 following two financial crisis that hit Korea hard before. We could not respond well enough to the Asian Financial Crisis due to a lack of information. However, considering the fact the people’s yearning to not go through the same crisis again due to financial illiteracy has boosted the sales of books about foreign currency and global financial trends, it seems that readers are seeking new opportunities in the current pandemic-driven economic crisis.
Korea’s publishing market for economics & business administration books is transforming rapidly to catch up with the diversifying global economy as the target of investment is changing at a fast pace from real estate to bitcoin, domestic stock, and the US stock hinging on the world’s economic environment and government policies. While the world is suffering from an unprecedented crisis, perhaps it is unfair to regard readers’ aggressive search for “money” and “wealth” as a mere representation of greed for capital. Ever since the skepticism over the new order of neoliberalism that emerged after the Global Financial Crisis in 2008 has dominated the world, the Korean government has been actively participating in structuring the market order with strong fiscal policies such as planning a supplementary budget and Korean-style New Deal Policy, where the COVID-19 pandemic has even aggravated the situation economically. While the market environment is transforming day after day with changing government policies, it seems that people are growing to have a stronger belief that it is only physical “wealth” that they can trust in the fluctuating economy. As the pandemic is expected to persist at least until the fourth quarter this year, people’s pursuit for “wealth” and “success” through “money” by getting insights from books is likely to continue as well.

 

 


Written by Cho Seon-Young (Leader of Book Team 1 at Yes 24)

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Cho Seon-Young (Leader of Book Team 1 at Yes 24)

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