In a phrase like

5개월 만에 100만 부 판매 돌파

I'm told that '부' is a counter word for books. But I remember learning that '권' would be a counter word for books.

When should I use one, and when the other?


1. You can use '권' for books, '부' for either books and newspaper.

I've never thought about difference between '부' and '권'. So I researched about it.

First of all, let's search them at Naver dictionary.

권 (卷)
1. 책을 세는 단위.

낚시에 관한 책을 세 권만 추천해 주십시오.
그 가방에 소설 책 한 권이 들어 있었다.
책상 위에는 교과서말고도 다른 책이 몇 권 눈에 띈다.

부 (部)
2. 신문(newspaper)이나 책을 세는 단위.

사회 복지관에서 책 십여 부를 학교에 보냈다.
신문(newspaer) 백이십 부를 돌리기 위해서 꼬박 두 시간을 미친 말처럼 달려야 했다.

Dictionary is saying '권' is a counter word for books and '부' is a counter word for either newspapers and books.

2. '부' cannot be used to count different kinds of books.

I thought dictionary is not enough to gage what to use between '부' and '권'. Because under some circumstances, we don't use '부' for books. And I got the most proper answer trolling the internet.

2000부라고 하나 2000권이라고 하나 같은 의미입니다. 그러나 같은 종의 책은 부수로 표시할 수 있어도, 2종 이상의 책을 아울러 말할 때는 몇 부라 하지 않고 몇 권이라 하는 것이 보통입니다. 도서관에 책이 5만 권 있다는 식의 표현이지요.

My lousy translating : 2000부 and 2000권 are the same.But we normally use '부' to count the same kinds of books. We use '권' to count various kinds of books rather than '부'.For example, there are 50 thousands of books (5만 권) in the library.

For example, if you have the two same books, you can say either '두 권 and 두 부'. On the other hand, if you have one Bible and one 'Da Vinci Code,The', you can say only '두 권' NOT '두 부'.



Hopefully, you can understand my explanation. If you don't understand this article, I will cry(just kidding, reply, please). I spent an hour to make it. haha.

I think there are more exact criteria but above the two is enough to live in South Korea. hahaha.


부 is 'copy' or 'copies' of the same book, as in your example.

권 is typically the number of different books. So you say:

  • 나는 디킨스의 소설 세권을 읽었다 (I read three novels by Dickens) or
  • 나는 디킨스의 소설을 세권 읽었다.

If someone is carrying some books and you don't know if they are all different or copies of the same book, you would say 권.

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