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Pachinko writer sets new publishing conditions in Korea

Posted April. 26, 2022 08:21,   

Updated April. 26, 2022 08:21


Contract term of four years. Report sales volume every three months. Pay royalties of 8% including minimum advance royalty of 200,000 dollars (some 245.9 million won)

These were the conditions that writer Lee Min-jin has asked to Korean publishers regarding publication rights for novels Pachinko (2018) and Free Food for Millionaires (2008). Lee said she wished to use the translation of previous publications to release the books as quickly as possible. Best-seller Pachinko has been earning more attention ever since the drama version was released on Apple TV plus last month.

Some say that Lee’s conditions are hard to meet, based on Korean practice where the contract term usually lasts five years and sales volume reports given every year. Other say that it is the writer’s own right to set new conditions for a book for which publication rights have expired. Lee has raised issues with Munhaksasangsa, the publisher who launched the Korean translated version of Pachinko, on its marketing and editing. “We did our best to reflect Lee’s various requirements, such as changing the protagonist’s name from Soonja to Sunja after releasing the first edition. It is regrettable that the contract was not renewed,” said the publisher.

It is expected that Lee would sign contract with other publishers as the former contract with Moonhaksasangsa was not renewed. The book had been retailed at 29,000 won for Book 1 and 2 combined, which is expected to be sold at higher prices considering advance payment of 200,000 dollars and other contract conditions. “Intense competition among publishers may result in higher burdens for readers,” said critic Jang Eun-soo.