NEW YORK, May 23, 2023 – Kakao Entertainment, in collaboration with a North American comics publisher, is set to release a hardcopy edition of its global blockbuster webtoon, “A Business Proposal.” The new print edition will be available in major North American bookstores, including Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kinokuniya, and various local establishments, starting May 23th.
The move builds on the successes of Kakao Entertainment’s webtoons in the U.S. comic market and aims to capitalize on the tremendous popularity of “A Business Proposal” by expanding its availability to the traditional offline book publishing market.
“A Business Proposal” is a captivating tale of office romance between Shin Ha-ri, an outgoing office worker, and Kang Tae-mu, a handsome and talented CEO. The story quickly became a global blockbuster, with the original web novel and subsequent webtoon adaptation amassing 560 million cumulative views globally since their release.
This success also demonstrated the immense potential of the original story behind “A Business Proposal” to be transformed into multiple formats. Not only was the original web novel adapted into a webtoon series through Kakao Entertainment’s proprietary novel-to-comics process, but it was also followed by a TV series adaptation. Produced by Kakao Entertainment and released both in Korea and on global streaming platforms, the TV series became the most-watched show in both English and non-English-speaking countries within weeks of its release.
The hardcopy release of the webtoon signifies an acknowledgment of the popularity of webtoons globally – both in general and specifically this title – and a recognition of the continued vitality and importance of North America’s traditional book publishing industry. IZE Press, a subsidiary of Yen Press which specializes in Korean titles, and is one of the largest publishers of comics and light novels in North America, will handle publication. Tapas Entertainment and IZE Press collaborated with NARAK, the original illustrator of the webtoon for about 10 months to ensure a faithful and appealing recreation of the webtoon in print. Yen Press previously worked with Tapas to publish a hard copy of the webtoon, “The Beginning After the End.”
Kakao Entertainment plans to continue adapting its original webtoon titles into secondary formats and will seek partnerships with diverse publishers in North America to help expand the reach of its popular webtoons as they are brought to print.
“Bringing out one of Kakao Entertainment’s most popular webtoons in hardcopy in North America, a market still dominated by traditional publications like comics, demonstrates the rising influence of Korean webtoons,” said Charlie Park, Head of Kakao Entertainment’s Global Business in Story Division. “Together with Tapas Entertainment, we will expand our webtoon market base in North America, and work on various projects to create synergy in the region by leveraging the popularity of our many webtoon titles.
“We are tremendously honored to work with Kakao Entertainment to publish “A Business Proposal” in North America’s print market,” said Juyoun Lee, CEO of IZE Press and Vice President of Yen Press. “We see this as an outstanding opportunity to introduce the charms of Kakao Entertainment’s many original titles to them.”