The South Korean publishing industry is doing very well when it comes to digital books. The e-book market rose 25.4% to reach 125.8 billion won, taking up 1.2% of the total book market in 2014. In 2015 sales rose 1.6% and garnered 150-160 billion when taking into consideration services run by mobile carriers. In terms of genre, 70% of e-books sold were either romance or fantasy.
One company is betting that e-book sales will continue to increase in the next few years. Ridibooks, which claims to be Korea’s largest e-book provider, has raised a $20 million Series C to take advantage of the market.
Ridibooks generate $50 million in revenue last year and currently has more than 2.5 million users who have downloaded a total of 175 million e-books. Their massive digital library comprises of 784,000 titles from 2,000 publishers. Along with its previous rounds, including an $8 million Series B closed at the end of 2014, Ridibooks has raised $35 million to date.
One of the most exciting things about this company is that it manufactures their own e-reader, called the Ridibook Paper and Paper Lite. The premium model features a resolution of 1440 x 1080 with 300 PPI and has a front-lit display. The more budget friendly model is only 200 PPI, and is aimed at people new to reading e-books.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.