Books are still the biggest tool for introducing people to Jesus.
South Korea-based Urim Books exists to help unbelievers accept Jesus Christ and to increase and deepen the faith of current believers. Given Urim’s current and future endeavors, they are indeed on their way to becoming the most influential and prominent publisher in South Korea.
According to CEO Kyungtae Noh, “We will continue to strive to publish our books in as many languages and countries as possible, and to lead as many souls as possible to salvation.” Toward this end, they also have an office in New York, Urim Books USA Inc.
Even though the number of Christians seems to be on a decline in South Korea, according to Noh books remain both the area of biggest opportunity and the most popular Christian product. “In South Korea, usually the best-sellers have been the books of the most famous revivalists or the pastors of the biggest churches in Korea or famous American authors like Joel Osteen and Rick Warren. Today, with the help of Christian TV channels, we see that those pastors who are most popular in the TV ministry also sell the most number of books as well.”
CREATION, PUBLICATION, AND DISTRIBUTION
South Korea is home to approximately 150 Christian publishers. Christian books are usually compilations of sermons by famous South Korean pastors or works by American writers translated into Korean.
As far as distribution, Noh says internet bookstores have taken over, especially since shipment of products takes only a couple of days at the most, anywhere in the country with the exception of some relatively remote islands.
“Until several years ago, there were many Christian bookstores selling only Christian books, stationery, and other Christianrelated items. As is the case with most countries, however, bookstores went out of business with the advent of the internet bookstores,” he explains.
Today, Christian books are mostly sold online at Kyobo bookstore and Young Poong Bookstore. There is also Yes24, which is solely an online bookstore.
Urim Books primarily works with in-country authors and has translated or is translating books of Korean writers into 75 languages. “Many Korean authors have been published in other countries as well and we are trying to expand our overseas publishing,” says Noh. “The more well-known the author, the easier it is to distribute their books.”
He says that secularism is an ever-growing challenge to believers in Korea. “There is a growing trend and attempt to ignore God’s Word about sin and hell. This trend, which misleads the believers into thinking sinning is okay as long as you superficially repent of your wrongdoings, leads to less interest in the Word of God.”
Urim Books sees that broadcasting has a significant impact on the distribution of books. Therefore, they’re looking to find ways to encourage authors to either start a broadcast ministry or increase their current broadcast ministry through TV and radio.
“If the viewers are blessed by the messages on TV or radio, it is much more likely that they will also purchase the books of the same pastor. And through books they can learn the Word of God in more depth and in a more systematic way.”