게시물 상세

Performance Summary of Korean Publications in the Global Publishing Market in 2020 and Prospects for 2021

 

2021.01.04

 

 

 

Performance summary of Korean publications in the global publishing market in 2020

The year 2020 will be recorded as a year in which Korean publications have had a meaningful experience in the global publishing market. It is because they have received balanced positive feedback in both fiction and non-fiction categories and in the Asian, European, US, and UK publishing markets. While certain titles or areas had been the cherry on the cake in the past, the trend has changed in 2020. Books in various genres have shown almost equally significant performance in various language regions. This can be interpreted that K-books are having closer interactions with readers across the world while gaining more influence in the global publishing market.
In the first half of 2020, the publishing industry in the world has had an unexpected time of turbulence due to the pandemic, where bookstores closed, and publishers had to work from home. Adding fuel to the fire, numerous offline events expected to be held in cities across the world, such as international book fairs or meet & greets, had to be canceled. While this tragic situation persists, publishers in each country, including Korea, found ways of overcoming difficulties and came up with follow-up measures. And with them striving to revitalize the contracting market, the industry has been minimizing the losses in sales they had expected for the year. Yet, it is inspiring that K-books are at least driving positive outcomes from the overseas publishing market.

 

Almonds

Kim Ji Young, Born 1982

Almonds, Kim Ji Young, Born 1982

 

One of the titles that outperformed in the overseas publishing market this year was Almonds (Changbi) of Sohn Won-Pyung. It made prominence in various publishing markets, including Asia, Europe, Britain, and the US. Published in Japan last year, Almonds has won first place for translated novels at the Bookstore Award in Japan in April. It had been hot news as it was the first time a Korean writer or an Asian writer won the award. Meanwhile, her Counterattack at Thirty (Eunhaengnamu) and Prism (Eunhaengnamu) published in 2017 and September 2020 respectively had their translation rights sold to Japan. In China, after news broke that the world star group BTS had recommended Almonds spread among local readers, this book is known to be rising in sales. The English version of the book was sold in May 2020 by HarperVia USA, which was then chosen as a “book of the month” on Amazon.com. Almonds’s translation rights have been sold to 17 countries as of early December 2020.
Apart from Sohn Won-Pyung’s Almonds, another rising star in fiction was undoubtedly Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 (Minumsa) by Cho Nam-Joo. Published in April this year in the United States, the book was long-listed for translated literature at the National Book Award USA, chosen as a “New York Times Notable Book of 2020” by the New York Times, and designated as a “Best Book of 2020” by NPR and Time Magazine. It was even before drawing a positive response from the Western publishing market that it became a bestseller in Japan in 2018. No matter what, Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 has been the hottest property in the overseas publishing market. Just like its predecessors who have established the foundation for Korean literature and formed a wide fanbase in the global publishing market such as Plesae Look After Mom (Changbi) by Shin Kyung-Sook, The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly (Sakyejul) by Hwang Sun-Mi, and Vegetarian (Changbi) by Han Kang, Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 will follow in their footsteps and be remembered as a notable Korean book.

 

Diverse genres of K-Books have performed well in various regions across the world in 2020.

 

I Decided to Live as Myself

Being Comfortable Without Effort

I Decided to Live as Myself, Being Comfortable Without Effort

 

For non-fiction, Kim Su-Hyun’s works have been eliciting a notable response from the Southeast Asian publishing market, including Japan. Her books are rapidly building up a fan base in Asia. She has successfully built a cornerstone with I Decided to Live as Myself (Woods of Mind’s Books) and stood shoulder to shoulder with the top non-fiction writers with her new book Being Comfortable Without Effort (Noll of Dasan Books). According to Dasan Books in Korea, the publisher of the book, Being Comfortable Without Effort by Kim Su-Hyun has been exported to Japan for more than 200 million won in prepaid royalties. This implies that the value of Korean non-fiction titles has risen. On top of these, I Want to Die but I Also Want to Eat Tteokppokki (Heun) by Baek Se-Hee and I Almost Lived Life to the Full (Woongjin Thingbig) by Hawan have had good sales records in Japan, receiving positive responses from local readers in the Southeast Asian publishing market as well.

 

 

Prospects for the next year in the global publishing market

 

Korea’s publishing content is expanding the realm of K-books by extending its reach in the global distribution market in various forms.

 

The prospects of K-books in the overseas publishing market next year seem brighter than this year. The power of K-books has been growing until this year and is expected to be unleashed for an even greater performance next year. The first potential break-out candidate is Kim Ae-Ran. She has been in the spotlight as she has been the talk of the town since the early 20s, and she has been exhibiting her prowess as a writer and her literary values through various short-novel collections. Her first and only full-length novel and the first exported work to English-speaking countries, My Palpitating Life (Changbi) is up and ready to be published in January next year by Forge in the United States. The book became a bestseller the moment it was released in 2011, and with unextinguished love from readers, it drew even more attention from the public when it was made into a movie. My Palpitating Life is about youth and love that makes our hearts flutter. Kim Ae-Ran’s candid, refreshing, and sophisticated sentences reflecting her glistening insights towards love and moments in life – being a parent, a child, and an aging being – would make you smile until the end of the book and sometimes make you burst into tears.

 

My Palpitating Life

Solo Leveling

My Palpitating Life, Solo Leveling

 

Another highly anticipated genre in 2021 is webnovels – especially those that are published as paper books. For example, Solo Leveling (Papyrus) by Chugong is a fiction serialized as a webnovel and a webtoon which was also published in a paper book edition. It is already a well-known title among overseas readers. Also, Omniscient Reader’s Viewpoint by Singshong has achieved brilliant success in Korea, and has gone beyond the realm of webnovels and webtoons, and is planned to be officially published as a series of paper books. Starting with this, Omniscient Reader’s Viewpoint is expected to be translated and published in several other countries. In that sense, Korea’s diverse publishing content will be able to expand the scope of the global distribution market and extend the domain of K-books, thereby drawing favorable economic outcomes as well.

 

 

 


Written by Joseph Lee (President of KL Management)

kbbok

Joseph Lee (President of KL Management)

If you liked this article, share it with others. 페이스북트위터블로그인쇄

Pre Megazine