Sunday, August 03, 2008

Banned Books = Increased Sales

It looks like the Korean Ministry of Defense is learning one of the laws of human nature the hard way. When you tell someone that they cannot do or have something, that object or action suddenly becomes very intriguing to them. They suddenly develop a consuming interest where none existed before the banning.

According to The Korea Times that is exactly what is happening to the 23 books that the Ministry has blacklisted as "subversive literature" not to be read by its servicemen.
It has banned its servicemen from reading and bringing them into barracks since July 22, alleging the books in question praise North Korea while criticizing the Korean government, Seoul-Washington alliance and capitalism.

Ironically, however, the blacklisted books have begun flying off shelves. Some on and off-line bookstores capitalized on the unprecedented ``frenzy'' by placing the publications at the forefront.
According to on-line bookstore Aladdin (, ``Bad Samaritans,'' written by Prof. Chang Ha-joon, was selling roughly 10 copies a day but demand has increased in recent days to reach 457 copies on Aug. 1 alone.

``There was almost no demand for `Guerrillas in Samsung Kingdom' until recently but now it's selling very well,'' said an Aladdin officer Keum Jung-hyun. ``Some published in the past had almost no demand until recently. But the announcement sparked demand for them as well.''
Rather than killing off these books, the Korean government seems to have increased their sales by a factor of 40 or so. Now everyone in Korea is curious about why their government fears these books and they will be read by many more people than would have otherwise been the case if they had just been ignored by those in charge.

You have to love it.


  1. Oh, thank you...I hadn't heard about this!!!

  2. That's funny. Seems like it's a rule of human nature- we're always curious about what's forbidden.

  3. This is the best advertising a book could hope for! I love it!!

  4. I thought about you when I made that post, bybee...figuring you might be interested in the situation.

  5. Jeane, basic human nature seems to be the same despite cultural differences, doesn't it? :-)

  6. Lisa, I guess it just proves the old saying that there's no such thing as bad publicity.