Paju, South Korea’s Metropolis of Books


A satellite tv for pc metropolis 22 miles northwest of Seoul, South Korea, Paju is small, with a inhabitants of round half 1,000,000. The streets are quieter than these of the bustling capital, the air cleaner and the tempo of life half a beat slower.

Whereas many individuals know the town for its navy base, Paju can be dwelling to the nation’s elaborate guide publishing hub — formally referred to as Paju Publishing Tradition, Data and Nationwide Industrial Park however generally known as Paju E book Metropolis. Round 900 book-related companies, together with printing presses, distribution firms and design studios line the streets, and indicators studying “Paju E book Metropolis” are in every single place.

The federal government opened the publishing hub in 1998, after virtually a decade of planning and as half of a bigger effort to modernize the nation. South Korea’s guide trade was once dispersed, however, in line with Lee Sang-yeon, a supervisor of one in all Paju’s major cultural amenities, the Asia Publication Tradition and Data Middle, “the founders of the publishing metropolis thought this scattered, decentralized manner of making books was inefficient.”

In clustering all of its bookmakers in a single place, South Korea hoped to raised produce and distribute a serious a part of its tradition. Books are a giant enterprise in South Korea. Final 12 months, greater than 115 million books had been offered nationwide, in line with the Korean Writer’s Affiliation.

The guide metropolis’s mission — to “actively assist tradition and humanities based mostly on books” — will be seen in buildings throughout city. Photopia, a serene purple construction curved like an ocean wave, serves as a images manufacturing and processing studio. One publishing firm, Dulnyouk, has its headquarters in a towering, geometric construction that resembles the sort of cumbersome transport car present in “Star Wars.” Quaint cafes, the place guests can sip their drinks whereas studying, dot Paju’s avenue corners. All the things is designed to protect and unfold a love for books.

On the core of Paju E book Metropolis is the place Lee works, the Asia Publication Tradition and Data Middle, a five-story complicated that features an schooling facility, occasions corridor and exhibition area, and that serves as a social {and professional} nucleus for native publishers. The middle attracts virtually 10,000 guests a 12 months.

On the constructing’s first ground is the Forest of Knowledge, a central library with tens of hundreds of books on show and tens of hundreds extra in storage, in line with Lee. Flooring-to-ceiling bookshelves, some greater than 25 toes tall, line the partitions. Although guests should not allowed to take a look at books — fiction and nonfiction, reference texts, image books and different works — they’re welcome to browse the cabinets and browse in frequent areas. The seemingly boundless assortment means visitors embody households with youngsters, younger {couples} on dates and teams of older folks on social outings. The middle features a lodge for anybody who desires to spend the evening.

The publication middle additionally prides itself in preserving historic texts and the apply of typography. The E book Metropolis Letterpress Museum, adjoining to the middle’s primary constructing, holds in its assortment conventional printing tools, together with 35 million steel character blocks.

Unsurprisingly, colleges love to go to Paju. On a Friday afternoon final month, first graders in matching college uniforms learn alongside a flight of stairs, some sitting in pairs, others alone. Elsewhere, a category of highschool juniors and seniors found the printing and publishing course of via a hands-on lesson.

Each fall, the middle hosts a guide competition, bringing collectively native authors, artists and guide lovers. This 12 months’s occasion, the twelfth annual gathering, included artwork exhibitions, dwell music, a typing competitors — during which contestants, sitting at typewriters row upon row, had been judged on pace and accuracy — and, after all, ample alternative to please within the tradition of books.

“Even because the world turns into extra digital, the appeal of books isn’t misplaced on readers,” Lee mentioned. “Those that like to learn books will all the time come again.”


Supply hyperlink

Leave a Comment