Various books are on display at a bookstore of Kyobo, South Korea’s leading bookstore chain. It says that the demand for Korean-language books jumps thanks to the popularity of Korean acts and movies. Photo courtesy of Kyobo

Demand for Korean-language books exploding

The popularity of K-pop superstar BTS and South Korea’s Netflix series Squid Game have led to the rocketing sales of Korean-language books, according to Korea’s largest bookstore chain Kyobo on March 19.

The Seoul-based outfit said that the number of Korean-language books delivered overseas last year jumped 17.5 percent from 2020 to reach the record high.

Kyobo noted that the year-on-year sales growth amounted to 85.8 percent between 2019 and 2020. It refused to disclose the exact number of books sold overseas, though.

The bookstore chain said that Korean textbooks were the most popular.

“BTS topped the Billboard charts while Parasite and Squid Game won the hearts and minds of global fans, which prompted interests in Korean culture. This appears to cause the increased sales of Korean-language books,” a Kyobo official said.

To meet the rising demand for Korean books, Kyobo said that it would join hands with a homegrown platform of helping foreigner readers make orders more easily.

BTS has become the first South Korean act to take the highest rank in the Billboard charts. For one, the seven-piece idol group’s song Butter topped the Billboard Hot 100 Songs chart for 10 weeks last year.

Parasite is the country’s 2019 thriller, which became the first non-English language movie to win the Academy Award for Best Picture.

After its premier late last year, Squid Game has become the most successful Netflix original series. The nine-episode show amassed a record-high 1.65 billion viewing hours in four weeks.

Hillary Lee studied literature in Seoul. Lee has big interests on various topics including IT, BT, business and finance. Lee can be reached at or 82-2-6956-6698.