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Publishing company banks on interest in kitties with ‘Heek’s House’

Jan 22,2020
Ko Kyung-won
Cat Story is a local book company that only publishes books on cats. The publishing house is led by Ko Kyung-won.

Ko is a reporter for a web magazine with 16 years of experience, but over the years she took photos of stray cats from time to time and has published five cat books so far.

The first book from Cat Story was “Heek’s House,” and it went on to become a best seller on the website of Kyobo Bookstore, the country’s largest bookstore chain, in the first week of its release. The book will also be published in Japan next year.

The following are edited excerpts from an interview with the writer and photographer.

Q. Why do you think that cats seem to be more popular than ever before?

Cats are territorial, so people don’t take them out for walks. We just didn’t recognize their existence before. But with social media, we can see them more than ever.

Until a few years ago, cats had a negative image. What do you think changed?

There have been a lot of people continuously working hard to change the perception of cats. I’ve been publishing books on stray cats because this is what I can do. We’ve been making our voice heard in our own ways, and it helped people rediscover cats.

Can your company make a profit selling only books about cats?

People were concerned about me for that reason, but with the books I published so far, I can live the next five years without [financial] worries. I try to focus on books that can improve the lives of cats. For example, there needs to be a book that deals with taking care of old cats and their death.

You wrote in your book that cats change people’s lives as if they cast magic. What does that mean?

The author of “Heek’s House” was part of the young generation who has given up on dating, marriage and children [because of the financial burden they present], but her life was totally changed after she began to raise a cat. She wanted to make her cat happy, and it became a great motivation in her life.

BY YOO JU-HYUN, KIM YEO-JIN [estyle@joongang.co.kr]