As a publisher specializing in foreign literature in translation, Open Books has been nurturing a strong catalogue of European and Russian literature from its very first years. Some of its earliest titles have gone on to become classics, like Eco's The Name of the Rose (published in Korea in 1986), Gorky's The Mother (1989) and Pasternak's Doctor Zhivago (1990).

Over the years, Open Books' catalogue of classics has significantly expanded, most notably with several collections of complete works by masters such as Dostoyevsky, Kazantzakis, E.M. Forster and collected works by Pushkin.

In 2006, Open Books celebrated its first 20 years of adventurous publishing by launching the "Mr. Know" collection. This collection featured over 60 titles including some of Open Books most popular works by authors such as, among others, Umberto Eco, Nikos Kazantzakis, Bernard Werber, E.M. Forster, Julian Barnes, Sebastian Faulks, Luis Sepúlveda, Paul Auster, and Patrick Süskind. These were supplemented by a fine eclectic blend of novels from the world literary canon including works by Albert Camus, Goethe, Bram Stoker, Erich Maria Remarque, Virginia Woolf, George Orwell, Italo Calvino, Jorge Amado, Emile Zola, Karen Blixen, Thomas Mann, John Fowles, Anton Chekhov, Edith Wharton, Amos Oz, Mikhail Bulgakov, Dashiell Hammett, Aleksandr Pushkin and many more.


In 2009, Open Books decided to take another step towards a full-fledged collection of classics from the world literary heritage. The existing collection was completely rethought and expanded into a newly edited and newly designed collection renamed Open Books World Literature. Open Books significantly broadened the spectrum of the collection by focusing less on its own catalogue and much more on world classics that have yet to be introduced to the Korean public, all while maintaining the highest quality standard in its new translations.

Starting with Dostoyevsky's Crime & Punishment, the Open Books World Literature collection now contains more than 240 volumes and counting, with new titles being added every year.

Among the most recently published titles are Ovid's Metamorphoses,   Hesse's Unterm Rad  and Tolstoy's Anna Karenina.


The Open Books World Literature collection is one of the largest collections of literary classics in Korea.

As of 2019, our World Literature list features seminal works from 22 different countries.

The oldest work included in the collection is Aeschylus' Oresteia. The most recent is Luis Sepúlveda's The Old Man Who Read Love Stories (1989), which is also the shortest work featured in the collection (184 pages). The longest work is the 3-volume, 1,440-page The Brothers Karamazov.

The top five best selling titles in this collection are
1. Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis
2. Crime and Punishment by Fedor Dostoyevsky
3. The Brothers Karamazov by Fedor Dostoyevsky
4. I am a Cat by Natsume Soseki
5. The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco