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Ancient documents to e-books: Seoul International Book Fair

Giant book event to feature exhibitions, seminars and meetings with authors


The 17th Seoul International Book Fair, one of the biggest book events in Korea, opens June 15 at COEX in southern Seoul with a total of 572 publishers from 23 countries participating.

The five-day event is filled with diverse special exhibitions, seminars, and events on a variety of themes in today’s international publishing industry.
The official poster of the 2011 Seoul International Book Fair. (Korean Publishers Association)
The official poster of the 2011 Seoul International Book Fair. (Korean Publishers Association)

It also offers an opportunity to learn about Korea’s famous documentary heritage, as well as Korean writers who were born a century ago.

One of its exhibitions, “Documentary Heritage of Korea,” features the Tripitaka Koreana, a Korean collection of Buddhist scriptures carved onto more than 80,000 wooden blocks in the 13th century. The national treasure marks its 1,000th anniversary this year.

The exhibition provides an introduction to a collection of books related to the documentary heritage, as well as digital reproduction processes. Author Oh Yoon-hee, who recently published a book on the Tripitaka Koreana in celebration of its millennial anniversary, will meet his readers during the event.

Another exhibition, “E-SQUARE,” will display about 600 e-books and articles through 70 electronic reading devices including tablet PCs and smart phones. Visitors will be given an opportunity to publish their blog entries in an electronic book.

A collection of books and related materials of Korean writers who were born a hundred years ago ― Kim Nam-cheon, Park Yeong-jun, Noh Cheon-myeong, An Su-gil, Yun Gon-gang, Jeong Bi-seok, Yun Seok-jung and Yi Won-su ― will be displayed in an exhibition named “Centennial Writers of 2011.”

This year, about 130 children’s books will be displayed on a single theme: girls. Every featured book in this exhibition will have girls as their protagonists in the stories and illustrations.

Other exhibitions will feature pop-up books of different kinds, books about the world’s different cities and their culture, and comic books for children. 
An opened page of a pop-up book that will be featured at 2011 Seoul International Book Fair. (Korean Publishers Association)
An opened page of a pop-up book that will be featured at 2011 Seoul International Book Fair. (Korean Publishers Association)

Anyone working in the publishing industry should find the event’s seminars quite useful. For one of the seminars, “Digital Publishing: Updates and Insights,” international experts from leading foreign publishing houses will speak about the current trend in e-books and digital publishing. The invited figures include Leslie Hulse, Vice President of Digital Business Development at HarperCollins Publishers in U.S., and Ronald Schild, CEO of MBV, a book marketing service company based in Germany.

Another seminar will discuss Korean authors Shin Kyung-sook and Kim Young-ha, whose English-translated books have been gaining popularity in North America.

The book fair will also hold meetings for its visitors to meet with Korea’s leading authors, including Eun Hee-kyung, Kim In-sook, Kim Jin-myung, Jo Kyung-ran, Kim Ae-ran, and Jeong Yoo-jeong. Participants will be given an opportunity to freely ask questions of the writers.

The fair ends on June 19. Tickets cost 3,000 won for adults and 1,000 won for students and children. For more information, visit www.sibf.or.kr.

By Claire Lee (dyc@heraldcorp.com)
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