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‘Uncanny Convenience Store’ tops bestseller lists at major bookstores

Dec. 6, 2022 - 17:48 By Hwang Dong-hee
Covers of Kim Ho-yeon's two-volume novel series "Uncanny Convenience Store" (Namu Bench)

The novel series “Uncanny Convenience Store” by Kim Ho-yeon has topped this year’s bestsellers lists in Korea.

The two-volume series ranked number one on the 2022 bestseller charts for Kyobo Book Center, the biggest bookstore chain in Korea, and Yes24, Korea's largest online book retailer.

In November, the two-volume series sold a combined 1 million copies, according to publisher Namu Bench. It is the third to do so since 2020, following Lee Mi-ye’s fantasy series “Dollargut Dream Department Store” and Sohn Won-pyung’s coming-of-age novel “Almond.” Lee’s series was last year’s No.1 bestseller at both Kyobo and Yes24.

“Uncanny Convenience Store” begins with Dokgo, a homeless man living in Seoul Station. He finds a wallet belonging to an elderly woman and the story unfolds as he works the night shift at her small convenience store in an old Seoul neighborhood.

The heartwarming story has captured readers’ hearts, while works under the theme of “healing” and “comfort” seems to have lead the bestseller lists, the two bookstores said.

Fiction novels performed well this year, accounting for half of the titles among the top 10 bestsellers, according to Kyobo Book Center.

Kim Hoon’s historical novel “Harbin” on Korea's independence fighter An Jung-geun placed third, best-selling author Kim Young-ha’s “Saying Goodbye” fifth, Lee Mi-ye’s “Dollargut Dream Department Store” seventh, and Hwang Bo-reum’s heartening novel “Welcome to the Hyunam-dong Bookshop” was 10th on the Kyobo bestsellers list.

Similarly, Yes24’s list showed “Harbin” at No. 3, “Saying Goodbye” at No. 4, and “Uncanny Convenience Store 2” at No. 5.

Among foreign novels, Lee Min-jin’s “Pachinko” topped the list at Kyobo. Lee's family saga gained popularity in Korea after its drama adaptation was released on Apple TV earlier this year.

The novel was voted Yes24's “The Book of the Year” among 100 shortlisted books. It received 21,006 votes online in a poll conducted Nov. 7-28.

The publishing rights to "Uncanny Convenience Store" have been sold to eight countries including Japan, China, Russia and Turkey. Translated editions have already been released in Thailand, Taiwan, Vietnam and Indonesia. In Taiwan, the book has been the bestselling translated novel since its publication in September, according to Namu Bench.

The story is also being adapted for a stage play and a television drama series. The play will hit theaters in the spring of 2023 while the drama series is slated for a 2023 release on ENA.