게시물 상세

Export Case

 

The Korean Book Importing Success Story of AST, a Russian Publisher

The Weakest Spirit in the World by Kim Dong-sik

 

2022.01.03

 

The story behind the Russian edition of The Weakest Spirit in the World (Yodabooks) by Kim Dong-sik is not very common for a commercial publisher. Still, I hope it could help small and niche imprints that prefer building long-lasting relations with their readers to a hit-and-run strategy.

 

?

Cover of The Weakest Spirit in the World, Russian edition

 

 

At Lingua, we predominantly publish textbooks, dictionaries, etc., for those learning foreign languages. In late 2016, our first Korean textbook came out to test our hypothesis and became a huge success, so we devised a concise publication strategy for this language. To our great surprise, few Korean literary translations were published at the time. We decided to exert ourselves as learning the language also means learning the culture, and literature is its pinnacle. Since then, we have published many Korean literary translations and brought several Korean authors to Moscow, which earned us a good reputation in the community of learners and teachers of Korean and those interested in Korean content in general.
The idea of publishing Kim Dong-sik's works was suggested by our dearest author and translator Ms. Jeong Insoon in October 2019, and we were very indecisive at first. Mr. Kim writes short stories, which proved not to be so sought-after by Russian readers. However, our team fell in love with them at first sight. Mr. Kim's stories are cute but spot-on and, most importantly, very easy on the reader linguistically-wise. That seemed like a perfect choice for our series of Korean bilingual graded readers, so we contacted the proprietor and acquired rights for some of the stories that seemed most suitable for the series.
The lockdown of 2020 in Russia interfered with our plans, and we published the first book only in November 2020. Half of the initial print-run sold by the end of the year, which we were content with, so in February 2021, we released another graded reader of Kim's stories and then, in September 2021, one more.
It was unfair to the author that we published the pieces as graded readers because we mixed stories from different original editions to meet educational goals and neglected the original composition.
Fortunately, we had a chance to revisit. When the first two graded readers with Kim's stories came out, we noticed that they caused a great buzz on the Internet. People were recommending the books not only as a study aid but also as a pleasant read. We saw an opportunity in this and decided to publish the first original collection, The Weakest Spirit in the World, as part of our series of contemporary Korean fiction.
At Lingua, we nurture our relations with the readers and strive to provide them with complete experiences. Every year since our first literary translation in 2017 (with a single and obvious exception of 2020), we have been inviting Korean authors to Moscow for promotional events. It is always a pricey endeavor, and the sales often do not cover the costs, but as luck would have it, our old partner Korea Foundation in Moscow shared our love towards Mr. Kim's artistic merit and the expenses.
For Mr. Kim's visit in September 2021, we had several activities planned so that every stratum of his readers could have an event to their taste.
First, Mr. Kim presented his book in one of the oldest and biggest bookshops in Moscow, which happened to be like-named and situated in the very heart of the city. The hall was full of people despite the fact it was Mr. Kim's first event and also happened on a weekday.
Second, Mr. Kim had a live broadcast with AST's subscribers on his book and career as an author. The broadcast was viewed by 56k people, who were very engaged in the comments.
Third, Mr. Kim participated in a panel discussion on modern literature and shared his way into the literary scene in Maksimilian Voloshin's public library, which holds an extensive collection of East Asian authors. On the panel alongside Mr. Kim, we gathered some of the most well-known experts on Korean literature and the art of translation in Russia: Ms. Jeong Insoon, who I have mentioned earlier, Ms. Irina Kasatkina, the head of the Korean language department at Moscow State University, and Ms. Luydmila Mikhaesku, a highly influential independent translator.
Last but not least, Mr. Kim gave a lecture on how to pursue a literary career to the students of Moscow State University.

 

?

Kim Dong-sik presented his book in one of Moscow's oldest and biggest bookshops.
ⓒ www.moscowbooks.ru/news/10012/

 

 

?

?

Kim Dong-sik participated in a panel discussion on modern literature and shared his way into the literary scene in Maksimilian Voloshin's public library.
ⓒ cbscao.ru/multimedia/fotogalereya/events-gallery/item/kim-tonsik

 

 

During Mr. Kim's stay, our PR team managed to schedule 3 interviews with the local press: one with Knizhnaya Industria, a major Russian trade paper, one with Koryo Saram, the main paper of the Korean diaspora in Russia, and one with an media website on Korean pop-culture, Ottoke.
Direct receipts from book sales over such a short period and given a relatively modest print-run would not cover the travelling and accommodation expenses if it were not for the sponsor, but it was never the plan. As I said at the beginning of this article, we believe in investing in long-lasting relations with our readers. Such events help us strengthen our presence and make marketing upcoming books by our authors easier. We have plans to publish Kim Dong-sik's next two collections of short stories over 2022 and are certain his visit in the past will boost pre-orders and organic mentions for the new titles.

 

 


Written by Kirill Ignatiev (Editor-in-Chief @Lingua, AST Publishers, Russia)

 

kbbok

Kirill Ignatiev (Editor-in-Chief @Lingua, AST Publishers, Russia)

#Russia#AST#The Weakest Spirit in the World#Kim Dong-sik#Lingua
If you liked this article, share it with others. 페이스북트위터블로그인쇄

Pre Megazine