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Samo Gazvoda
June 1, 2023

K-Pop Legends BTS Drop The Biggest Surprise This Year

10-Year Anniversary Celebrations and Literary Surprises

The undeniable kings of K-Pop, the Bulletproof Boy Scouts, finally broke the silence about their forthcoming biography, Beyond the Story: 10-Year Record of BTS. K-Pop fans around the world are in awe. This happened at the tail end of a very secretive ad campaign that dropped hints about the book over the past few months, without giving fans any real confirmation about what to expect.

Taylor’s Fans Took Notice

Initially, the book’s US publisher Flatiron Books announced that on July 9th of 2023, a book release was in store, with the confusing and misleading title of “4C Untitled Flatiron Nonfiction Summer 2023”. It was clear to many that this was a marketing ploy, but the breadcrumbs left for fans to follow led most people to a very different musical talent – that of Taylor Swift. She had recently posted a vague reference to July 9th as part of a Tweet announcing her next album release. Her fans also noted that the initial release of this unnamed biography was June 13 and Ms. Swift is known for her love for the number 13, especially its symbolism.

A Secret Release, A Tricky Puzzle, and Swift Assumptions

It was public information that the book had an initial print run of 1 million copies. This made it clear that the author behind it was successful or at the very least famous.

Avid Taylor Swift fans didn’t want to take the chance and they ended up spiking the international popularity of the book long before it was even clear what the book was. They preordered it en masse.

Anniversaries and the Fandom

As it turns out, the dates of July 9th and June 13th are far more sacred to the Bangtan Boys, who debuted on June 13th, exactly ten years ago. July 9th was the day their loyal fanbase united under a single banner and the acronym ARMY, or, “Adorable Representative M.C. for Youth”. It’s odd that this same fanbase didn’t put the pieces together about the release, but it’s worth noting that this entire marketing campaign targeted their US fanbase, at a somewhat unfortunate time. The release information came out on a Sunday. The book will be released in Korea by BTS’s music label Big Hit Music. The English release will be handled by Flatiron Books.

Made for Fans Around the Globe

Originally in Their Native Language

The biography has been written in Korean, of course, under the guidance of journalist Kang Myeong-Seok, though all the members of BTS are credited to the book as well.

The book is apparently 544 pages of oral history on BTS. 10 years of career successes, trials, tribulations, failures, and redemption stories, all neatly packed into a hard-cover compendium of all things BTS.

Ready for Western Publication

The book’s English version was written by Anton Hur, an avid translator of Korean literature. Translations into other languages are sure to follow fast. So far, all the information on the book bodes well for its upcoming release. Preorders are open and you can get your hands on the book soon, but if you’re worried about the initial print running out, you should probably reserve your copy as soon as possible. This release is BTS’s foray into the literary world and fans remain hopeful that the biography will stun as much as the music.

Next Gen Influencers, Taking Names

Undeniable Trendsetters

BTS earned their spot on BestBooks by being one of the most influential musical acts of the century. Their rise in fame was unpredictable, but they managed to become a household name both through their talent and their impeccable international marketing. What started in South Korea soon spread across the world and became a worldwide phenomenon. There appears to be so much more to their albums than just the music itself. They’re a global brand and an inspiration for countless other bands that have since followed suit.

A Cultural Milestone

South Korea effectively invented an entire genre of entertainment centered around the tried and tested formula of mixing pop music with choreographed dancing and hip-hop. It’s been done before, but never at this scale. At a net worth of over 3.5 billion dollars, BTS are a very significant South Korean export, so to speak.

They’ve also led the charge in opening up a lot of avenues for other South Korean bands in Western spaces, along with the promotion by proxy of mainstream Korean visual entertainment. K-Dramas are rising in popularity in the West, fast.

The Boys and Their Books

You’ve got quite a bit of time before Beyond the Story arrives in the mail. In the meantime, have a look at what the seven bulletproof boys consider recommended reading:

Reading Recommendations

  • Jungkook has said more than once that The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery is one of few books, he could easily read from beginning to end. It’s certainly a book worth reading if you need to get in touch with your inner child.
  • The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho is a staple of fine modern literature and Suga considers it his favorite. He’s a fan of Coelho’s work in general. This is the way to go if you’re in the mood for some deep soul-searching and intricate writing.
  • The boys have also spoken of Hermann Hesse’s Demian at length and the role it played in inspiring their album Wings. The stylistic references to the book within the album are plentiful.
  • J-Hope mentioned during a podcast that he warmly recommends Living Loving and Learning by Leo F. Buscaglia.
  • If you’re looking for something a bit more lighthearted, but steeped in wisdom, check out Jin’s recommendation of I’m Glad You Lived Like Bonobono by Kim Shin Hoi
  • RM, the renowned genius of the group recommends a plethora of books that he’s passionate about, including The Stranger by Albert Camus and Kafka on The Shore by H aruki Murakami. If you’re in a serious slump, and you’d like to delve into something deep and therapeutic, you can also check out I Want To Die But I Want To Eat Tteokbokki by Baek Sehee. Both BTS’s music and RM’s solo work heavily reflect the themes in this memoir.
  • Jimin has a bit more of a passion for South Korean literature, with titles such as Kaori Ekuni's Between Calm and Passion, though he’s also mentioned that he appreciated Essays After Eighty by Donald Hall
  • V’s favorite book, I Am Home, but I Still Want to Go Home by Kwon Rabin actually became famous because of him. He spoke of it fondly and ended up boosting the writer to stardom. The book became a bestseller thanks to his endorsement. The book attempts to explain and romanticize the concept of a home and how that concept differs from person to person. It’s a worthwhile modern read.

The Undeniable Achievements of The Bulletproof Boy Scouts

Many consider BTS’s successes to be musical alone, but that’s a gross understatement and a general misunderstanding. As any avid fan will tell you, every single one of these boys works hard beyond the music to, for lack of a better term, make the world a better place. Each is known for some form of philanthropy to different extents and their artistic vision reaches far beyond the limitations of pop music. They’re often referred to as multi-hyphenates and while RM is allegedly the standout genius, they’re all excelling at their craft. There’s also a lot of overlap between their artistic work and their lateral interests.

The real question that should ideally concern our readers at least is: What is the extent to which the wisdom behind BTS’s successes can be conveyed in written form? This site stands as a testament to achievers and the written word. There’s a relationship there between the accomplishments and the conveyed experience. Of course, all experiences get diluted when a writer puts pen to paper, but given BTS’s general position as entertainers with a dedicated fanbase, there’s a serious risk.

What The Fans Can Expect to See

Pop Might Dilute the Story

Pop music fans, K-Pop or otherwise, are used to a certain stream of steady, easily consumable, heavily processed entertainment. While they are attracted to controversy, long-form writing is hardly conducive to the compressed wisdom of 3.5-minute musical jams. It will be very interesting to see what kind of stories BTS actually decided to include across these 500 or so pages. There’s room there to school future generations on the risks and rewards of the entertainment industry, possibly with some tips on how to make a billion dollars before you’re 30.

Hope It Hits the Mark

Alternatively, the book could end up being pop fluff, with long-winded lists of favorite cooking recipes and discussion of hair products. No shade – these are important topics as well, of course. But, there’s so much more that they can offer to their fans if they’re willing. BTS have a serious chance of solidifying themselves as kings of modern entertainment wisdom in one single literary release. Only time will tell how this will pan out.