Publisher seeks 'understanding' of facts in North Korea book

AP News
Posted: Jan 18, 2015 9:50 PM
Publisher seeks 'understanding' of facts in North Korea book

NEW YORK (AP) — The publisher of an authorized best-seller about North Korean defector and human rights activist Shin Dong-hyuk, who has retracted substantial parts of his story, said Sunday that it is anxious for an "accurate understanding" of the facts.

Penguin Books publicity director Louise Braverman said in a statement that the publisher was consulting with Blaine Harden, whose "Escape from Camp 14" came out in 2012.

Viking, a Penguin imprint, "has been apprised that there were some inaccuracies in the story Shin Dong-hyuk, the subject of the book, told the author," the statement reads. "We are working with the author on an accurate understanding of the facts."

Harden's book spent several weeks on The New York Times hardcover and paperback best-seller lists, and, according to Braverman, has been published in 27 languages. More than 200,000 copies are in print in the U.S. alone.

According to Harden, a former Washington Post reporter, Shin has acknowledged to him that he changed some key details and had apologized.

"In light of my conversation with Shin," Harden wrote on his web site. "I am working with my publisher to gather more information and amend the book."

Publishers rarely fact check books, citing time and expense, and instead rely on the authors.