Sunday, June 26, 2011

Seoul comes to life with International Book Fair

Jumbo Editorial Team

The 17th Seoul International Book Fair (SIBF), South Korea's oldest and largest book festival, attracted massive crowds throughout five days. It was organized by the Korea Publishers Association at the COEX Convention and Exhibition Center in Seoul, bringing in more than 570 publishers from 23 countries.

The presence of numerous Korean and foreign publishers over the course of the five-day event enlivened the proceedings and the bookworms turned up in very large numbers to ensure its success.

This year's book fair was extra special as one of Korea's ancient books marked its one-thousand year anniversary.

Korea's first "Daejanggyeong," or the First Tripitaka Koreana, a complete collection of Buddhist scriptures carved into wood, was made in the 11th century during the ancient Goryeo Dynasty.

While it was not on display, visitors instead saw reproductions of the Jikji, the world's oldest movable metal printing press from the 14th century and the Goryeo Dynasty. Through the exhibition, visitors also glimpsed the past while accessing the newest information.

One of the growing trends in the book market is the e-book. The book fair raised questions about the emerging trend, asking the world's prominent publishers for their opinions, which could change the way books are printed in the future.

The e-book market has drastically increased recently with the development of IT devices, and made up 10 percent of overall trade book revenue last year.

"There are some consumers and some categories of books which will continue in print book form, and others for which it might all turn transition to digital. I think it's too soon to say but it's certainly will. It's going to change the book publishing business and it will change also for consumers as well. They experience differences. It's really a moment of transition," one of the participating publishers reckoned.

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