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Philosophy books gain popularity amid pandemic

Posted February. 24, 2022 07:48,   

Updated February. 24, 2022 07:48


Philosophy books are also enjoying popularity this year following last year. Books such as “Socrates Express,” which was published almost a year ago, are still in the best sellers list, enjoying steady popularity.

“Socrates Express,” published in April last year, has been beloved by readers, ranking 8th in the monthly best sellers list and 1st in the humanities department on the Kyobo Books website. New books published late last year are also high on the list. “For the Days that Haven’t Come Yet,” which was published in November last year, is 6th in the humanities department on the Kyobo Books website and 3rd on the Yes24 website in January. “Daily Philosophy,” published in December, is 13th on the Kyobo Books website and “Philosophy Lab,” published in October, is 20th on the Yes24 website.

The sales volume and number of publications of philosophy books are on the rise as well. According to online bookstore Yes24, the annual sales volume of books in the philosophy and ideology department fell by 23.8 percent from the previous year in 2020, but increased by 60.7 percent last year. The number of new publications also increased from 206 in 2020 to 290 last year.

One of the secrets of popularity of philosophy books is that they lowered the entry barrier for readers by linking philosophy with daily life and soothed the tired mind. “Socrates Express” incorporated difficult philosophical concepts into everyday life, such as ‘how to get out of bed like Marcus Aurelius’ and ‘how to show kindness like Confucius.’ “For the Days that Haven’t Come Yet” quoted famous philosophers such as Pascal and Freud to emphasize that we should not give up on things that we easily give up as we get old, such as desire and love. Book critic Pyo Jeong-hoon said philosophy books, which are gaining popularity in recent years, are not academic books that explain difficult philosophical knowledge, but are self-help books that help readers look back on their lives through philosophical knowledge and insight and rest their mind.

The popularity of philosophy books was in part caused by the prolonged pandemic. Those who feel tired by constant social distancing turn to books that can soothe their mind. “‘Philosophy for Uneasy Days’ comforts those who suffer from feelings of uneasiness and ‘Four Recipes of Epicurus’ incorporates ideas of the Stoics and the school of Epicurus that studied happiness,” said Park Sook-kyung, a manager at Yes24.

Jae-Hee Kim jetti@donga.com