Sheldon Heads List of Favorite Foreign AuthorsYi Mun-yol, famous for "Our Twisted Hero" and other masterpieces, is Korea's most popular local author, a survey shows. Sidney Sheldon is the most popular foreign author.
The most popular authors were named by only a few of the survey respondents, indicating a broad range of reading interests among Koreans. Only 5.4 percent of people surveyed named Yi as their favorite author and 4.6 percent named Sheldon. But 70 percent of respondents said they did not have a favorite local author and over 87 percent had no favorite foreign author. The five top domestic authors were Yi, Park Wan-seo, Kim Jin-myung, Choi In-ho and Kim Hong-shin. Other well known authors Lee Wae-soo, Yang Kwi-ja, Park Kyung-ri, Shin Kyong-suk, Shin Dal-ja and Cho Jung-rae each were named in one percent or more of the responses. The other leading non-Korean authors were Leo Tolstoy, William Shakespeare and Hermann Hesse, with Agatha Christie and Bernard Werber joint fifth, rather unusual company for Sheldon, who is known for his pot-boilers.
JoongAng Ilbo newspaper and the SBS radio program "Let's Play with Books" conducted a telephone survey of 1,000 people aged over 20. The research had a plus or minus 3.1 percent sampling error with a 95 percent confidence level. "Let's Play With Books" celebrated its first anniversary last week.
Just under half the respondents had read at least one book in the past month, although they may have read magazines, and over 85 percent said they had read at least one book during the past year. Women tend to read more books than men. People in their 20s and 30s tend to read more books than people in their 40s and 50s.
Novels were the favorite genre, followed by ideology, philosophy and religion , hobbies and other practical guides, essays and meditation, poetry , economics, education, fairy tales and science.
Nearly half the people surveyed said they bought books after reading about them in newspapers or hearing about them on television or radio. A quarter got their information from bookstores or libraries, and others said they heard about books from friends or from the Internet. Nearly half the respondents said they checked bestseller lists before buying.
Just over half the respondents said they are patrons of bookstores. About 18 percent borrowed books from book-lenders, which is three times the number of people who use public libraries. Over half complained that books are expensive; only three percent thought books were cheap.
by Kim Haing