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South Korea's National Institute of Ecology - Known for publishing content acclaimed worldwide

 

2019.08.05

 

South Korea's National Institute of Ecology operated by the country's Ministry of Environment calls itself 'another little Earth' with its exhibits of various plants and animals from countries around the world, including South Korea. The institute also publishes a diverse range of books on the environment for everyone from children to experts. Recently, the institute exported publishing rights of 13 books to Vietnam and Turkey, and some of them have already been translated and introduced to the local markets there. This year, seven books including The Facts Within the Fairy Tales: Aesop's Stories of Nature will be released in Vietnam, while another called Exploring the World of Ant will be sold in Turkey. K-Book Trends spoke with the institute's publishing arm, NIE PRESS, to hear about the agency's book export cases and their passion for content.

 

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Many people believe the National Institute of Ecology is just for research on the environment and related exhibits. It was quite interesting to hear that a state-run institute has its own publishing department and is even exporting their books. Could you tell us about some of the projects you're working on?

 

The National Institute of Ecology is a national institute that carries out research on the environment, makes efforts to preserve the environment and in that process, opens related exhibitions and education classes. We aim to increase the country's competitiveness by taking the lead in ecology research and provide an area for diverse experiences and learning opportunities for the general public to boost their knowledge of the environment. On top of this, the National Institute of Ecology creates different forms of content from the results of our research, exhibitions and education to spread awareness on environment culture. Our publishing department was established for that purpose in May 2015.
The institute aims to provide tailored content for everyone from young children to members of the general public and experts and to help them understand the content easily. We have fairy tales featuring the ecology for children and environment education books for the general public and experts. In addition to these, we also have content ready for the disabled, like videos with sign language and books in braille. We've also introduced digital content to our archive, like content using AR (augmented reality).

 

We heard Ecology+Creative Art, a five-book series from the institute, was published and is being sold in Turkey. Please tell us what other books have been exported by the institute.

 

<Ecology+ Creative Art - The Tropics>, <The facts within the Fairy Tales - Talmud Stories of Nature>, <Exploring the World of Ant>

Ecology+ Creative Art - The Tropics, The facts within the Fairy Tales - Talmud Stories of Nature, Exploring the World of Ant

 

At NIE PRESS, we've been publishing a variety of books to spread international awareness on ecology-related issues. Among the books published, our The Facts Within the Fairy Tales series has been exported to many countries after having received awards and other accolades for delivering content on plants and animal life through classic folks stories or idioms from South Korea and elsewhere.
With our initial export of Exploring the World of Ant in 2017 to Turkey, we exported our Ecology+Creative Art series there the following year. That same year, we managed to export two books from the The Facts Within the Fairy Tales series and all five books of the Ecology+Creative Art series to Vietnam. Of these, the Ecology+Creative Art series was translated and released in 2018 in Turkey, and all the other books are now being translated and designed for release sometime this year. Because Korean culture is receiving more attention globally and international interest in ecology is on the rise, our hopes are high the books will see much demand overseas.

 

 

Ecology experts are involved in the entire process for our book publications

and we are confident the books will be competitive inside and outside South Korea

thanks to the expertise and trustworthiness of the books' content

 

 

It sounds like the books from the National Institute of Ecology have enough competitiveness to be acknowledged outside South Korea.

 

NIE PRESS has been utilizing the results from the institute's various research, exhibitions and education projects to develop and publish a variety of books. The institute's biggest competitive edge would be the fact that the institute employs many diverse experts on plants and animals, like researchers, veterinarians, ecology narrators, ecology lecturers and plant and animal rangers. With these experts on different plant and animal life inside and outside South Korea, NIE PRESS holds planning meetings to set themes. The experts are involved in the entire publishing process like selecting photographs and other research material on ecology, writing and editing. Because they are deeply involved in the entire process for our book publications, we are confident the books will be competitive inside and outside South Korea thanks to the expertise and trustworthiness of the books' content.

 

Not only does the institute export books overseas, but we also hear you've been doing other good things too. We heard the institute is working with the Korea-Asia Friendship Foundation to provide books of excellence from South Korea to developing Asian countries.

 

In the early stages of the institute's content business, we were mulling over ways to provide our books for education on ecology translated into different languages to multinational families in South Korea, because their numbers were growing then. At that time the Korea-Asia Friendship Foundation reached out to us and suggested we work with them. The foundation had already started distributing South Korean books to developing Asian countries and multicultural family support centers in South Korea. The institute provided book data in consideration of the socially disadvantaged and to inform others about ecological culture.

 

<The Journey of the Twirling Water Droplet>, <Endangered Animals>

The Journey of the Twirling Water Droplet, Endangered Animals

 

Our Eco Stories series that introduces the work ecologists do includes a book called The Journey of the Twirling Water Droplet that teaches readers about what effects climate change has on the environment. The second book in the series, called Endangered Animals explores how changes in nature and the greed of man have influenced the planet, including endangering animal and plant species. The Korea-Asia Friendship Foundation has been translating books produced by the National Institute of Ecology and plans to provide them to elementary schools in Cambodia and regional multicultural family support centers in South Korea.

 

 

By participating in book promotion events inside and outside South Korea

we've been able to listen to readers directly and expand our horizons by 

experiencing different books from countries around the world

 

 

We've also heard the institute directly participates in major book fairs to promote its books, like the Seoul International Book Fair and the Bologna Children's Book Fair.

 


It's important to produce good books, but we also think it's equally important to provide readers with the opportunity to read our books. But the options that government institutions have can be quite limited, so we've been looking into book fair participation and promoting the various awards and recognition our books have received.
Taking part in international book fairs has especially paid off as there were non-Korean publishers who took an interest in our work during the book fairs. This interest eventually led to the export of some of our books. We've been operating exhibition and promotion booths every year at events like the Seoul International Book Fair, the annual Korea reading festival and the Seoul International Young Children Education and Kids Fair. In order to inform the international audience about what we do and the excellence of our publications, we presented our books at the Bologna Children's Book Fair from 2016 to 2018. This year we plan to do the same at the Frankfurt Book Fair in October.
By participating in book promotion events inside and outside South Korea, we've been able to listen to readers directly and expand our horizons by experiencing different books from countries around the world. We hope these efforts will contribute to our potential in the future to create even better books.

 

At this point, we're curious as to what results the institute has seen so far through its books. Could you tell us about the awards some of your books have received and what the books were?

 

Our most representative publication would be The Facts Within the Fairy Tales series. This book series for children was planned to help young minds absorb wisdom from classic stories and information on the environment at the same time. With Aesop's Stories of Nature starting the series in 2015, we published six more in the series, including Andersen's Stories of Nature, Grimm Brother's Stories of Nature, Talmud Stories of Nature and World's Proverbs of Nature. This August we plan to publish the eighth installation in the series called World's Folktales of Nature. Of these, Aesop's Stories of Nature received the South Korean government's recognition as a book of excellence in science in 2016. After that, Korean Folktales of Nature and Andersen's Stories of Nature both received the same recognition in 2017 and 2018, Grimm Brother's Stories of Nature did as well. In 2017, the series won bronze at the 2017 Stevie Awards, proving its excellence in content.

 

<The Heaven of Migrating Birds - Seocheon Yubu Island>, <Goggle-eyed Gobies That Won Against AI Muddybots>

The Heaven of Migrating Birds - Seocheon Yubu Island, Goggle-eyed Gobies That Won Against AI Muddybots

 

In the first half of 2018, The Heaven of Migrating Birds - Seocheon Yubu Island was given the Sejong award of excellence by the Korea Publication Industry Promotion Agency. The book describes the efforts of so many people taken to protect the special environment of Yubu Island, which is a beautiful location where migrating birds come to rest. In the second half of last year, Goggle-eyed Gobies That Won Against AI Muddybots received the same recognition for its content on ecology and the environment. This second book had also been the recipient of a competition award given by the National Institute of Ecology.
Aside from these, many other books from the institute have received accolades since our publishing business began in 2015, with the total count standing at 13.

 

 

From young children to adults, from amateurs who are just curious about 

ecology to experts we plan to accommodate everyone and expand our 

differentiated services with digital content combined with new media technology.

 

 

Lastly, do tell us about any goals or plans the institute has in store for its publishing business.

 

From young children to adults, from amateurs who are just curious about ecology to experts, we plan to accommodate everyone and expand our differentiated services with digital content combined with new media technology like ecology-related fairy tales, books for academia, audiobooks and multimedia books. Also, we plan to promote our books continuously to export more of them overseas. This way, we'll be able to strengthen our recognition and also prove the excellence of our books.
Meanwhile, we are also working on making more public content for the disabled like video materials with sign language for the hearing impaired and braille books for the visually challenged. The institute wishes to be at the forefront when it comes to realizing such social values. Through these efforts, the institute, as the backbone of the country's ecology-related activities, plans to spread ecology culture throughout South Korea and elsewhere through helping the public realize the importance of ecology and boost their knowledge of the subject.

 

 


Arranged by Kim Yu-mi

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