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The book that inspired a BTS song is now a bestseller in Korea

Into the Magic Shop is beloved by the Dalai Lama and the world’s biggest K-pop band

Not content with just dominating the pop charts, K-pop boyband BTS has pushed a book into Korea’s bestseller lists. 

Their latest album, Love Yourself: Tear, features a track titled “Magic Shop” – it features the first production credit for member Jungkook, and is a touching ode to their dedicated fanbase.

Prior to the song’s release, a trailer and live performance from 2017 alluded to the book Into the Magic Shop, a memoir by James R. Doty.

The trailer described the record as “a psychodramatic technique that exchanges fear for a positive attitude”. As Buzzfeed reports, this comes from the Stanford professor’s book. Into the Magic Shop, first published in 1016, has been translated into 31 languages. The personal memoir is from Doty’s perspective, citing a woman and her magic shop as inspiration on his path to becoming a leading neurosurgeon. It chronicles his difficult upbringing with an alcoholic father and depressed mother, and the life-changing moment he stepped into the Cactus Rabbit Magic Shop. In the book, he explores self-esteem, the science behind mindfulness, and powerful life lessons. 

As well as BTS, the Dalai Lama has praised the book. Since BTS first referenced it, sales of the book have increased 510 times. The book has become a bestseller on Aladin (a popular Korean bookstore). A fan group have also made the book their next book club read. 

Speaking to Buzzfeed, Doty said: “Clearly, BTS is very thoughtful in the creation of the music and the lyrics such that their songs deeply resonate with many people, not only in Korea but around the world. 

“The reaction to my book has always been very strong and positive in that it has a message about opening one’s heart and overcoming adversity – struggles which everyone experiences.”

He added: “That being said, the immense popularity of BTS and the song has not only resulted in my book becoming a best-seller in Korea, but has resulted in a dramatic increase in exposure of the book to many others around the world – boosting sales and promoting the message of the power of having an open heart and of love, which I appreciate and which is needed more than ever."

BTS regularly use references to books and literature in their music and work. Their second album Wings drew from Hermann Hesse’s book Demian, and their music video for “You Never Walk Alone” was inspired by sci-fi novelist Ursula K. Le Guin and her novel The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas.