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.