Amazon makes a mighty mis-step with Asia Publisher books

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(Charles Montgomery charles@ktlit.com)

What in the name of God is wrong with Asia Publishers and Amazon and what is it in their interaction(s) that stops them from selling Korean literature in translation? Today I wrote an article about Cheon Myeong-kwan and his excellent book Homecoming (review) so he went to Amazon and ordered it.

Amazon promptly told The DTs that Homecoming (Amazon) could not be shipped to his country. This made no sense at all, because the DTs lives in Seoul, Korea, and the publisher is in Seoul, Korea. In fact, were he so inclined he could walk from his house to the Asia Publisher office and purchase to book there. So he contacted me and I did a little checking. I tried to order it. Sure enough, I went through the process, which resulted in this:

Yes…. I cannot order a Korean book, written in Korea, translated, in Korea and published in Korea. Here is the screen:

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Or at least I can’t IN Korea. Because when I changed the address to an overseas one, lo and behold:

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I can apparently order Homecoming online ONLY if I don’t live I Korea (readers from other countries – Tony, Philip – please try this and get back to me). BTW… want the book from Kyobo? Don’t bother going there – they don’t have it. You can, using their Korean site, order it. To do that, you’d better get your Korean friend and about 30 minutes of time to waste together, because the process is a pain.

This is ridiculous – international residents of Korea are among the most likely to become interested in its literature, yet we can’t get it from within the country. You’re automatically locking out a captive audience.

And this is not the only problem with Asia on Amazon as KTLIT has pointed out here: Goodness gracious! Asia Publishers and Amazon just can’t get it together.

These, however, due to due diligence by Asia Publishers and Amazon were sorted out. So let’s hope this little contratemps gets plasterboarded over.

8 thoughts on “Amazon makes a mighty mis-step with Asia Publisher books

  1. Isn’t the fault with Asia Publishers rather than Amazon? The above title isn’t even listed on UK Amazon. Any Asia Publisher title I want I have to order from Seoul Selection. I think we’ve had this conversation before!

  2. Brilliant… overseas marketing, now THE single largest failure of Korean translated literature. I suppose that’s good news because it means many other problems (i.e. gatekeeping, poor translation) have been at least partially overcome.

  3. I was just told by a friend here that he couldn’t order our first doc b/c Amazon wouldn’t accept a Korean credit card or that of his home country in Europe. Apparently only would accept a US card, so the issue is a bit broader in ordering from here.

  4. Furthermore, I couldn’t get a copy of my own docs sent to me here from my co-producer even when they were shipped b/c I no longer have an alien registration card after a few years outside the country. That was directly related to a recently passed law, so maybe they all are part of a single shift?

  5. KTWR…. good for you… depends on card (I too have ordered this way), but it is often not accessible. I can’t pretend to understand why but your (our) experience has NOT been shared by other English-language readers who have attempted to buy these books.
    Also, they are already off the shelf at Kybobo (though you can order them there)
    This is simply NOT a good marketing model..

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