The official biography of Apple’s late CEO Steve Jobs is shaking up the local publishing industry as it is set to hit shelves of bookstores in 25 countries today.
Fearing direct competition with Walter Isaacson’s forthcoming book “Steve Jobs,” local publishing companies are adjusting the release of their books. A new book by Ahn Cheol-soo, doctor-turned-software mogul who is also the dean of the Seoul National University Graduate School of Convergence Science and Technology, will now be released at the end of November.
Also, popular Korean writer Kim Hoon’s new novel, breaking a four-year hiatus, “Heuksan” (Black Mountain), moved up its release to last Thursday from early November. Kim is the author of million-seller book “Namhansanseong,” which was released in 2007 and topped the best-seller list for weeks.
“For a moment we thought about taking on [‘Steve Jobs’], but after some deep consideration, we decided to change the release date,” said executive Son Cheol-ju of Hakgojae Publishing Company, who represents Kim.
Although the book is not yet released, local Koreans are eager to preorder the book so that they can be among the first to read Steve Jobs’ life story. As of yesterday, it was ranked the third-best-selling book on the most popular local online bookstore, Yes24.com, and also ranked fourth on Kyobo Bookstore’s list.
Even though readers are very interested in the book, there is limited information released about the contents. To maximize the drama, the book is not only set to be published simultaneously worldwide, but publishers have kept its contents confidential.
The U.S. publisher Simon & Schuster has even made the English-to-local-language translators sign an agreement not to reveal any content until the official release date.
“The local publisher [in the United States] strategically planned the simultaneous release worldwide from the beginning,” said public relations manager Lee Mi-hyun of Minumsa Publishing Group, which is the Korean publisher of the biography. “We have been getting the manuscript in sections as it gets finished there.”
As the confidentiality of the book has sparked curiosity, people who claim to have excerpts of certain pages have been writing their own partial reviews online.
Although the book is set to be released today, the book might not be available as soon as major bookstores open. The Korean version will be available in the afternoon since the books will be shipped out from the printing house in Munsan, Gyeonggi, in the morning.
“We are trying to have the books for purchase as early as possible, but it is expected that the books are going to be ready for sale after 12 o’clock,” said Kim Yun-jeong of Kyobo Bookstore public relations.
However, the English version will be available from the opening at Kyobo Bookstores.
The biography was originally set to be published next month, but due to Jobs’ unexpected death, the date has been advanced to today. It is written by Isaacson, former managing director of Time magazine.
By Lee Sun-min [email@example.com]