In South Korea, homeland of tablet maker Samsung, tablets may be responsible for a drop in reading. At least, that’s what a Korean Publishers Association executive told Publishing Perspectives at the Seoul International Book Fair.
Seung Hyun Moon, Director, International Project Department at the Korean Publishers Association, still says “the market is getting worse. Publishers are facing a problem from smart devices. Almost everyone says that in the past you would see people reading books on the subway. Now you see them catching up on soaps they have missed.”
Moon notes that Korean publishers are paranoid about e-books after observing the collapse of the music industry over piracy. This is more than a little ironic given that just a few years ago, Barnes & Noble thought e-books in Korea had a “bright future.” But given how B&N has been performing lately, it’s not exactly unheard of for that company to be wrong about something.
On the other hand, Korean books are selling better overseas, literary agent Joseph Lee of KL Management reports.
It’s interesting that the country responsible for so many devices that promote electronic media consumption over here has e-book problems of its own. It is worth remembering that not everyone has access to the same e-book markets we do in the west.