|From left are the covers of "A Dog Writer," "Wag: The Science of Making Your Dog Happy" and "Welcome to Cat Restaurant." Courtesy of Yes24|
By Park Han-sol
Nearly one out of four Koreans ― or 14.48 million according to the 2021 KB Management Institute's survey report ― live with animal companions.
As the number of pet owners is on the rise, so are the sales of books on animal rights and pet culture in the domestic market, according to Yes24, one of the country's leading online bookstores.
The total sales of literary works that address topics such as animal rights, animal welfare and ethics have shown a steady increase, especially over the last five years ― with this year's figure, as of Sept. 25, being 4.8 times higher than that of the same period in 2018.
The largest age group of buyers are those in their 40s and 50s, who constituted 70.98 percent of the total, followed by those in their 20s and 30s at 24.94 percent.
The bestsellers on this year's list include the revised edition of "All Life is Beautiful," which was penned by acclaimed ecologist and animal behaviorist Choe Jae-chun two decades ago. The author muses on the fundamental idea of coexistence between human and non-human beings, all the while viewing the animal world as a lens to reflect on major issues of our society ― gender, religion, relationships and power structures.
The graphic essay, "My Story on Veganism," explores dietary practices and the lifestyle led by the vegan writer, as she introduces the issue of animal rights and warns against cruel practices against non-human creatures, which continue to this day.
Sales of books on animals as life companions have soared as well, with this year's figure showing a 45.83-percent jump from the year before. Since 2018, nearly 100 new pet-themed titles have been published each year, reflecting the popularity of the subject.
Some of the bestselling titles in 2022 include an illustrated essay, "A Dog Writer," whose story unfolds from the eyes of the author's 14-year-old Maltese dog named Moonge, and the translated edition of "Wag: The Science of Making Your Dog Happy," written by Canada-based dog trainer and social psychologist Zazie Todd.
Another on the list is "Welcome to Cat Restaurant," a photo book that portrays how stray cats can live in harmony with humans, even when they aren't living under the same roof.