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P u b l i s h e r s W e e k ly .

c o m

Special Report 2014

Digital Publishing in


Breaking into the digital solutions industry
with innovative ideas based on
advanced technology

Digital Publishing in Korea 2014

The Koreans are breaking into the digital
solutions industry with innovative ideas based
on advanced technology

Here Come the K-books
By Teri Tan

Consider these figures: This is the country with the fastest
Internet speed in the world at 13.3 Mbps (against 8.7 Mbps
in the U.S.), and 98% of its households have access to broadband
Internet. More than 80% of its 50 million people use
smartphones, with penetration among the 18- to 24-year-olds
at an astounding 97%. The government is spending 1.6
trillion won ($1.7 billion) to roll out next-generation 5G
wireless services, set to be launched at the 2018 Pyeongchang
Winter Olympics and for commercial viability by 2020. Is it
any wonder then that its largest metropolis, Seoul, is dubbed
the “bandwidth capital of the world”?



nd now Korea’s sophisticated digital-mindedness
has permeated its publishing industry. The younger
generation of digital natives
is proving to be not only a
rich testing ground for but also a discerning group of consumers of anything
mobile, cloud-based or media-related.
The government’s digital classroom initiative, aimed for 2015 completion, also
helps to propel the e-book and e-publishing market. As such, visitors to the London Book Fair on April 8–10, where
Korea is the market focus, “will see just
how much progress Korean digital publishing companies have made in the past
couple of years,” says Eric Yang, president of Seoul-based RHK and Tabon
Books as well as director of the market
focus executive committee. “We are seri-

ous about e-publishing and we are here
to stay.”
Inevitably, some will point out that


4.191 trillion won
($3.8 billion)

the Koreans are late to the (digitization)
party, which was started way back in the
late 1970s by India-based digital solutions companies and now dominated by
them. For sure, there is no first-mover
advantage to be had. But Yang, who is
also v-p of the Korean Publishers Association, has a different take on that: “I
have nothing but respect for our Indian
counterparts. They seized the opportunity presented by the growing market
demand for digital products and leveraged their highly skilled yet low-cost
labor pool to their advantage. But look
at the automobile industry: the prestigious German brands of Mercedes, Audi
and Volkswagen have not stopped
Korean automakers from competing
with them effectively and, in some cases,
outstripping them in terms of reliability,
engineering excellence and design aesthetics. So while Korea is a relatively new
entrant to the e-publishing industry, I
would like to think that our digital solutions companies will replicate the success
of our automobile industry within the
next five years.”
Although Korea is not known for lowcost labor, its strength in technology and
its relentless pursuit of innovation are
undeniable. How else could its people
have turned the poorest country in the
world back in the 1960s—and one without natural resources—into what is now
Asia’s fourth largest economy with the
world’s 15th highest GDP (gross domes-

Korean Book Industry
in Numbers

190.671 billion won

($178 million)

Value of
total book market
Value of
e-book market

4.254 trillion won*
($3.9 billion)
244.821 billion won*
($228 million)

42,157 No. of publishing houses 44,196


No. of titles published



No. of copies printed



No. of translated titles


13,885 won

book price

14,678 won

* estimated figure
Source: Korean Publishing Research Institute

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Digital Publishing in Korea 2014
tic product)? Look at its track record: it
has the world’s biggest information technology firm by revenue (Samsung Electronics), the fourth largest mobile phone
maker (LG Electronics) and the first service provider to offer a publicly accessible LTE-Advanced network (SK Telecom). In other words, digital technology
and innovation coupled with a top-notch
infrastructure—supported by homegrown talent and extensive adoption and
consumption—has worked in Korea’s
favor in the past, and will continue to be
its greatest strength going forward.
Beyond developing and creating digital content, there is much work to be
done to take local content to the global
stage. As Yang points out, “Before we can
expect foreign readers to explore our literature and culture, we first have to create awareness and arouse curiosity, something that the Koreans traditionally are
not very good at doing. Despite the socalled Korean wave, Westerners’ idea of
Korean culture is made up largely of
K-pop and kimchee. Little is known
about our ancient nation with its proud,
and mostly honorable, heritage. So our
mission in London is to bring attention
to these little-known aspects in a variety
of engaging ways. And if we succeed, the
rest will follow.”
Domestically, faced with consumers
who are accustomed to high-level interactivity, enhanced multimedia and fast
connectivity in their mobile content,
fresher approaches and new ideas are crucial to get anything noticed (or purchased). The industry’s emphasis is more
on ideation, creation and development of
new content as opposed to conversion
and digitization of existing content. Any

conversion and backlist digitization,
done in much smaller volume (unlike
those handled by India-based companies), tends to mean integrating new
assets to rejuvenate the content.
Apps, on the other hand, boast interesting features such as on-site global
positioning and personalization. For
instance, within a travel book app, users
can click on a hotel or restaurant address
to get the location map, access a realtime currency calculator or check the
local weather forecast. They can also take
photos and turn the app into a personal
travel journal. Other than content, there
are trademarked digital rights management and watermarking solutions
designed for multimedia companies and
governments, and a cloud-based platform for digital content creation targeted
at the self-publishing community.
Starting from ground zero is the hallmark of many Korean digital companies.
These start-ups collaborate with publishing houses, domestic and overseas, to
develop new content and explore novel
ideas. Some are focused on creating ecosystems or platforms to enable content
creation and distribution. One company,
for example, has been turning travel
guides into apps for a major publisher,
and the titles shot to the Korean AppStore’s top-grossing apps list when they
were launched.
For the Koreans, the industry buzzwords are the same as elsewhere—XML,
EPub3, HTML5, apps, cloud, analytics,
big data and discoverability—reflecting
the homogeneous world we live in today.
The challenges, naturally, are no different: pricing, turnaround time, content
obsolescence, newer devices, ever-chang-

ing standards and fickle-minded publishers (and consumers). Size-wise, the
biggest of the start-ups has no more than
40 people, while the smallest, less than
10. Selected for this review, in alphabetical order, are nine of the companies, each
unique in its own ways.

BookJam Corp.
Specializing in book apps for smartphones and tablets, BookJam’s business
approach is to form alliances with publishing companies “that are not so keen
on investing lots of money in e-books,”
says CEO Hanyeol Cho, whose team of 32
people has worked with some 50 Korean
publishers. “Using our proprietary format BXP [BookJam Xtensible Publication], we can produce highly interactive
multimedia book apps with a much more
sophisticated layout than any e-book in
the market and with more features than
what EPub allows. We can add Vimeo
video, embed maps, offer social media,
enable audio recording and much more.
BXP also allows auto-compression of
images to enable fast download that is
adjusted to the resolution of the device.”
More than 200 book apps have been pro-

Hanyeol Cho, CEO of BookJam

Online Coverage of the Korean Digital Publishing Industry
The following articles are available online in conjunction with this print report:
● Facts and Numbers on the Korean Book Market (with insights from the Korean Publishing Research Institute)
● Q&A with Paul Riley of OUP-ELT (on his Oxford Learner’s Bookshelf project with iPortfolio)
● The Changing Retail Industry (featuring Yes24 and Kyobo Book Centre)
● Dealing with Rights (featuring literary agencies KL Management and EYA)
Visit for continuing coverage, news and q&as with Korean book
industry players.

P U B L I S H E R S W E E K LY ■ M A R C H 2 4 , 2 0 1 4

Dalkey Archive Press in the U.S. Publishes the First 10 Books in

The Library of Korean Literature

Kim Joo-young

Hyun Ki Young
One Spoon on This Earth

Jang Jung-il
When Adam Opens
His Eyes

Jung Mi-kyung
My Son’s Girlfriend: Stories

Jung Young Moon
A Most Ambiguous
Sunday, and Other Stories

Kim Won-il
The House with a
Sunken Courtyard

Lee Ki-ho
At Least We Can

Yi Kwang-su
The Soil

Park Wan-suh
Lonesome You: Stories

Jang Eun-jin
No One Writes Back

Proje c t Show c ase

Digital Publishing in Korea 2014

Among BookJam’s many complex manga projects was the
Naruto collection, the Korean AppStore’s top-grossing comic
app in December 2013. For this, the team’s top priority was
image resolution. “Most people expect e-books to have lower
image quality than the print edition. But we think differently.
There are many considerations that need to be looked at when
turning a manga title into an e-book, such as the display ratio,
landscape or portrait mode, image capacity and UI/UX design.
Japanese manga fans are very particular about image quality.
So we make every effort to ensure fast-loading, high-definition
images for different screen displays,” says CEO Hanyeol Cho.
For Open Books, the Korean publisher of sci-fi author Bernard
Werber, the team provides more than a white-label e-bookstore. “The publisher wanted to sell some older
Werber titles at a special discount and at the same time gauge his fans’ interest and knowledge of his
titles. To make it fun, we created a hidden store within the app. To get to the hidden store to enjoy the $100
discount, visitors had to solve a series of quizzes on Belokan, the imaginary city in Werber’s Ants trilogy. It
generated a great deal of interest among fans and general readers, and it made us realize the vast potential
in ‘hidden’ or embedded marketing,” adds Cho.

duced so far, and BookJam controls at
least half of the book apps market in
BookJam also produces boxed apps
based on an author’s collection of works,
as well as store apps with payment facilities. Manga collections and French
author Bernard Werber’s sci-fi titles
(including his bestselling Le Papillon des
etoiles) are among its popular boxed apps.
“Our strength is in graphic novels and
comics as we can offer highly sophisticated graphic layouts, better readability
and faster production turnaround with
BXP,” adds Cho, creator of the proprietary format. “User experience takes priority in our R&D efforts. Korean readers
are spoiled as they are used to beautifully
designed books printed on high-quality
paper. Now they want the same aesthetics and experience replicated digitally,
and that is the main reason behind the
creation and development of BXP.”
Cho and his team also offer publishers
a content platform to showcase and sell
their book apps. “To focus on their core
competencies, publishers have always
relied on retailers and aggregators to
push their titles. But this means they do
not have any statistics on the sales or endconsumers. They would not have the

necessary information to improve their
product discoverability or plan new
products. With BookJam’s e-store and
analytics, we can help publishers plan
their marketing strategy or product
development,” adds content producer
Hyunkyung Kim. “For instance, based
on such consumer analytics, we decided
to offer our boxed manga apps in different volumes and at different prices. It is
about knowing the market, how much
consumers are willing to pay and how we
should offer the product.”
With a new cloud-based content platform nearing completion, the team has
already started working on children’s
e-books for it, including prenatal care
titles. Much attention is also given to
expanding its market. So far, its manga
collections have been successfully
launched in Japan and China. The content platform is also being integrated
into a Japanese publishing company’s
infrastructure. “We have a great product
in BXP, and we are finding new areas
where it can be used to provide highquality content,” says Cho, attributing
the company’s success to his team of talented engineers and developers, who love
books and have a great relationship with
their publishing clients.

P U B L I S H E R S W E E K LY ■ M A R C H 2 4 , 2 0 1 4

While others were still contemplating
entering the e-publishing market, CEO
Michael Kim took the plunge by setting
up i-ePUB in November 2010. As the
industry first mover, the company got to
produce many of Korea’s first e-publications for domestic clients such as KDB
Daewoo Securities, Korean Broadcasting
System and Toyota Korea. Barely one
year after its inception, i-ePUB became
an OverDrive partner and provided
Korean e-books to 15,000 libraries and
schools around the world. It is also the
partner of choice for Publish on Demand
Global and Kobo.

Michael Kim, CEO of i-ePUB

Digital Publishing in Korea 2014
Now i-ePUB converts, publishes and
distributes e-books of all kinds, as well
as aggregates content for local and foreign distributors such as Yes24, Bandi &
Luni’s, Aladdin, Amazon and Apple. But
the start was tough because “we were
doing it very much by trial and error in
the new Korean e-book market. Publishers were just beginning to look into
digitization, and few were willing to
invest in e-books. No one knew exactly
what would work or sell in Korea, much
less make a profit out of it. So we started
with the most basic format—PDF-based
e-books—and learned our way around
new formats and solutions through
relentless R&D. Today we produce various types of e-books in EPub2, EPub3,
HTML5 and apps with more than 200
publishers big and small,” says Kim,
adding that their business partners also
include Samsung, CJ Group, Korea
Foundation and radio/TV broadcasting
company TBS. “We have created about
200 titles of our own besides converting
e-books for various enterprises and government agencies.”
Apps for magazines, user manuals and
catalogues are another i-ePUB specialty.
It started with user manual apps for Samsung’s launches of Galaxy S3 and Galaxy
Note 10.1 back in July 2012. Another
client, TBS eFM, contracted the company to produce its annual Digital Magazine app for both smartphones and tablets. “We also created a kid’s app for
MIFAFF [Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries], an app for a
Robert Capa photo exhibition held by
major daily newspaper Kyunghyang
Shinmun, and TecKo’s skin-scuba catalogue app. These projects tested our
understanding of the technology beyond
what is normally used for the publishing
industry and contributed tremendously
to our development as an apps creator.”
This year, Kim will launch a storyboard portal service that he estimates will
reach more than one million users daily.
The challenge, he adds, is to find good
authors with valuable content from which
enhanced e-books, webtoons or apps can
be produced. “We intend to start this service in Korea before offering it in selected

countries for the first stage of our expansion. With Korea as the market focus at
the upcoming London Book Fair, we have
a great opportunity to showcase our products and services to the rest of the world.
Together with other digital publishers,
we can collectively market Korea as a new
digital publishing hub for publishers as
well as other verticals.”

Here is a company with 12 years of
e-learning R&D behind it, although it
was officially established only in December 2011. At the heart of iPortfolio is its
patented platform Spindle Books for
transforming print books into premium
interactive e-books. “It provides a unique
user interface especially for educational
titles, travel guides and children’s books,
and our Universal Spindle Viewer accommodates EPub3 fixed and reflowable layouts with enriched features. Our SpinTools for authoring enables a fully interactive e-book to be created under eight
hours,” explains co-founder and CEO
Robert Kim, who boasts more than 17
years of IT and education industry experience.
“Our goal is to allow publishers to
digitize their titles and build their own
e-book platform in the most timely and
cost-effective way possible. Along the

way, we want to add value and enrich the
user experience of e-titles while staying
true to the original design and page layout,” adds Kim, whose company works
on a project-by-project basis or on a
revenue-sharing model with publishing
So far, nearly 1,000 titles have been
produced for various clients, and its biggest success to-date is a travel-guide
series from RHK. “Nine out of the 10
travel guides were among the top 10
grossing titles in the paid travel app category on the Korean Apple AppStore
when they were first launched. We have
produced around 50 travel guides for
RHK, and many are still on the top
grossing list,” says co-founder and CTO
Jonghwan Lee. “But we are not resting
on our laurels as far as this series is concerned. Our team has been developing
new tools and features, such as locationbased page search as well as a camera
function that allows conversion, personalization and integration of a photo
album into the guidebooks. We are also
in the midst of producing the English
and Japanese editions.”
Another major undertaking, the
Oxford Learner’s Bookshelf (OLB), is an
OUP-iPortfolio initiative to bring to the
market highly interactive OUP books,
powered by Spindle Books. “We help
OUP provide e-textbooks through OLB
to Abu Dhabi-based Higher Colleges of

iPortfolio director and co-founder Jonghwan Lee (l.) and CEO and co-founder Robert Kim (r.)
with Paul Riley of OUP-ELT at the 2014 BETT Show in London

P U B L I S H E R S W E E K LY ■ M A R C H 2 4 , 2 0 1 4

P roje c t Sh ow c ase

Digital Publishing in Korea 2014

While it is known for DRM (digital
rights management) technology,
MarkAny has also been developing
custom-built e-book platforms for
publishers, content aggregators
and service providers. Naturally,
these platforms combine essential content- and sales-related functions
with MarkAny’s trademarked DRM technology, named ContentSAFER, to
improve the security of e-book distribution. ShinSeGae, one of Korea’s
largest retail chains, for instance, adopted MarkAny’s e-book platform
model for its e-book distribution service, Ododok. MarkAny built this
all-in-one turnkey system with functions such as EPub3-compatible
authoring tools, PC and mobile e-viewers, shopping malls, customer management system and DRM. In
another project, the client KPC (Korea Publishing Contents), a group comprising more than 200 local publishers, wanted transparency in the sale and distribution of e-books through third parties. The team linked
KPC’s licensing system (secured with MarkAny’s DRM technology of course) to the aggregators’ sales management systems so that the publishers can obtain real-time critical information such as sales performance
and consumer analytics to guide their publishing programs and marketing activities.

Technology for a paperless classroom
environment serving around 19,000 students on 17 campuses. OLB is now the
de facto OUP platform for ELT titles,”
says Kim. (See online article on interview
with director Paul Riley of OUP-ELT.)
“When smartphones entered the picture in 2007, we envisioned content converging around an integrated and interactive platform that is neutral and highly
mobile. We then set out to ‘transform
books and reform education,’ which by
the way is our company motto. Education is not limited to the classroom—
travel expands it,” says Kim, adding that
he and his team “are embarking on a
journey to provide scalable publishing
solutions and highly functional educational materials to the Korean market
and beyond.” With DSC Investment—
an award-winner at the 2013 Korea Venture/Start-up Conference—as his financial partner, Kim is setting his sights
firmly on the global market for the next
phase of iPortfolio’s expansion.

MarkAny Inc.
Fifteen-year-old MarkAny specializes in
DRM (digital rights management) and
watermarking technology and solutions.

“On the Internet, copyrighted content
can spread virally and illegally into the
hands of unauthorized users if distributed without any protection. This would
deal a devastating blow to copyright
holders and the company or companies
aggregating the content,” says executive
v-p David Kim, whose team of 150 people has helped to promote DRM technology both in Korea and abroad.
MarkAny’s DRM and watermarking
solutions have been adopted in the public, financial, manufacturing, publishing,
entertainment, and online services sectors. “In the entertainment business, for
instance, our DRM and watermarking
solutions are designed to protect music,
movies, and interactive e-books.” Kim
explains how watermarking works: “It is
embedded as digital codes inside the
audio, movie or e-book content. So, in a
video posting, for instance, our watermarking code would reveal the party or
person responsible for distributing it.”
MarkAny started developing core
technology for the e-book industry in
late 2009, offering CMS (content management system) and DRM solutions for
monitoring sales and providing transaction transparency. “Our all-in-one e-book
solutions platform—consisting of PC

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and mobile viewers, an ePub authoring
tool, CMS and DRM—prevents the illegal distribution of purchased and downloaded e-books. We use media content
DRM technology to block access to users
without a content license. The technology also supports screen-capture protection for both PC and mobile viewers so
that no one can copy or distribute the
content. By preventing illegal copying or
distribution, content can then be sold at
a reasonable price,” says Kim.
Given that there are few watermarking
companies in the world, it is not surprising that MarkAny has close to 130 registered patents, of which around 30% are
for the global market. Another 142 patents have been filed.
In recent months, MarkAny has
launched many new trademarked products, including SmartDetect (for mobile
verification of document forgery), MediaPlus (for auto-recognition of content),
AegisSAFER (a mobile device management solution) and AppSAFER (mobile
application security solutions). SmartDetect is developed to address loopholes
in QR codes—the open codes being vulnerable to forgery and phishing—by utilizing a 2D secure barcode system the
company developed that does not require

Digital Publishing in Korea 2014
a PC scanner or dedicated software.
MediaPlus, on the other hand, applies
either watermarking or fingerprinting to
recognize and identify content. (Fingerprinting identifies content by analyzing
unique properties of the original content
and comparing the result with a stored
Internationally recognized, MarkAny’s technology is used in the U.S.,
Canada, Japan, Europe, China, and many
countries in the Middle East and ASEAN.
“With online information and business
growing rapidly, preventing leakage of
confidential data and illegal copying and
distribution of copyrighted works has
become a major concern,” adds Kim.
“MarkAny will do its utmost to help protect clients’ property, and we aim to turn
Korea’s #1 security solution provider
into a global one.”

Naver Corporation

Junkoo Kim, team leader of Naver Webtoon unit with two characters Seokcho and Bunny

Chongsou Yun, team leader of Naver book
and academic unit

tion comes from the publishers, but we
have 40 special reviewers and 20 professional recommenders to provide a balanced commentary on each title. At the
end of the day, we want to provide our
users with the most accurate and up-todate information,” says team leader
Chongsou Yun, adding that the service is
crucial in view of the lack of advance
book information in the Korean publishing industry. “Publishers are heavily reliant on bookstores—traditional and
online—to promote and sell their titles.
But the declining reading habit and
lower birthrate require publishers to find
different ways to reach potential readers
and promote reading. Naver offers one
such channel, and it reaches more than
4.5 million visitors per month.”
Trend-wise, self-healing, self-help,
how-to and humanities titles were popular at Naver in the past six months. “We
regularly select an author to recommend,
such as British author Julia Golding’s YA
titles last November and French author
Bernard Werber’s sci-fi titles two months
ago.” Self-publishing, Yun adds, “is still
in its infancy in Korea. If a self-published
title is promoted or mentioned on Naver’s blog or community post, our portal
The first Korean web portal to develop
its own search engine, Naver was officially launched in 1999 and now has
3,000 staff working in different divisions
such as book, email, shopping mall, news
and children’s (Junior Naver). With 70%
of the market share in Korea, Naver is the
fifth most popular search engine in the
Naver’s book and academic search services cover published books as well as
academic theses. “There are currently 7.3
million print titles in our database, of
which 1.5 million are published by
Korean companies. The book informa-

users may pick it up, but it would not be
maintained in our title database. As for
e-books, they are not as popular as they
should be, but the segment is growing at
Naver, and readers generally prefer light
e-novels and e-comics.”
Speaking of comics, no other platform
(or company) offers more support or promotion than Naver Webtoon. When
comics publishing declined steeply in
the 1990s and early 2000s, Webtoon was
created as an alternative platform for
comic illustrators and artists to publish
their works. “The initial goal was to
recruit new comic readers, and we succeeded beyond our imagination. Starting
with around 10,000 readers, it soon hit
6.2 million per day, and the popularity
of Webtoon and its artists rose. In a way,
the comics industry survived the turmoil
and has become stronger in the process.
We now offer comics, web novels/fiction
and webtoons, with the first two categories being paid services,” says Junkoo
Kim, head of the Webtoon unit, adding
that Naver bears the production costs of
the free webtoons and decides which, and
when, to broadcast through its portal.
Popular Webtoon artists may have
their series or characters turned into
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Digital Publishing in Korea 2014
video, games and merchandise, according to Kim. “This single-source multiuse approach gets Naver, publishers and
artists working together to help develop
the comics industry. Advertising agencies and consumer product companies
also help by licensing webtoon characters. Ten years after Naver Webtoon was
established, our unit has grown to about
36 people.” Its meet-the-author session
at the 2013 Frankfurt Book Fair drew
20,000 fans, convincing Naver to venture beyond Korea. “Our focus will be on
the English-speaking territories first.”
As for web novels (designed as cartoons), a new service launched in January,
40 titles are now available. It is a profit- Team Orange Digit with CEO and founder Louis Byun ( l.) and sales and marketing director
Evan Ra (second from right)
sharing venture in which “Naver provides the infrastructure along with cusViewPorter will be released in other lanalso offers additional e-book services such
tomer management and marketing serguages, including Italian, Chinese and
as cover design and conversion.
vices, while publishers produce the web
Among the outstanding titles pubnovels and set the price. While webtoons
Orange4D, on the other hand, is a
lished by Orange Digit using its Viewachieved mass popularity quickly but
place for content contributors from
Porter ecosystem are Cultural Corps of
took a long period to be profitable, the
around the world to connect, where “digBuddhism’s TempleStay Summer 2013 (a
contrary is true for web novels. Neverital content such as photos, illustrations,
unique cultural program that offers a
theless, both services are designed to provideo footage, fonts, 3D objects, audio
look at the life of Buddhist practitioners
mote reading and develop the publishing
files and templates can be created, shared
in traditional Korean temples), Tyler
industry through different channels and
and sold. Authors can purchase these eleWallace’s Storytelling Algebra 3, Yongja
models,” adds Kim.
ments and combine them to create their
Kim’s Korean Cuisine and Yeolsu Yoon’s
own content using Orange4D. They can
The Handbook of Korean Art. These highly
Orange Digit
also buy widgets with hundreds of interinteractive illustrated English titles with
active codes at low prices from our Widphotographs and slide shows are availFor CEO and founder Louis Byun of
getore. The ecosystem of ViewPorter,
able through iBookstore. “We also
14-month-old Orange Digit, digital
Orange4D and Widgetore allows content
started an evolving title called Time
publishing goes beyond producing
creators to make interactive e-books fun
Travel in which authors can use Wide-books and apps. He also develops techand easy to use,” explains Byun, who now
getore to change the story line and advernology to expedite digital content crehas his head office in Pennsylvania in
tisers can promote their products.” Byun
ation through an open-ended platform.
addition to a design lab in Seoul. Viewintends for Orange Digit to be a place
“We have packaged our R&D and knowlPorter, a free download launched last
where digital publishing and advertising
edge into products such as ViewPorter
November, already has around 1,000
come together. And he is well-placed for
and Orange4D. ViewPorter Sun edition,
users. “We have just launched Sun 1.1.3,
this, with his decade-long marketing
for instance, is a truly WYSIWYG EPub
which allows editing, dragging, moving
experience at companies such as Sameditor that supports both EPub2 and
and resizing of multimedia components.”
sung, Ericsson and ST Microelectronics,
EPub3, and is XHTML 1.1 and HTML5
Moreover, authors can distribute their
and his passion for digital publishing.
compliant. It can generate output in
e-books globally through Orange Digit’s
both app and EPub formats, and is come-bookstore and earn up to 70% of each
patible with iBooks, Kindle, Nook,
book sold. Referring to his company’s
Kobo, Sony and other EPub-based
slogan of “Build Your Story,” Byun says,
Less than three years after kick-starting
e-readers,” says Byun, adding that trade“Our products and solutions are perfectly
its digital publishing division, RHK has
marked ViewPorter supports CSS2/
suited to self-published authors. They
released 750 titles (excluding app
CSS3, EPub validation check and thumbcan realize their dreams of creating not
books). The most successful is the RHK
nail/page/code views besides automatic
just text-based but highly interactive
Travel Guide series with titles such as
TOC (table of contents) generation. Cure-books and selling them through the
Romantic Trips by Train (19,600 downrently available in English and Korean,
biggest retailers in the world.” His team
loads), Weekend Travel Companion
14 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y ■ M A R C H 2 4 , 2 0 1 4

Digital Publishing in Korea 2014
limited. But there will always be a need
for informative and educational material—not just among school- and collegeage readers but people at any stage of life
who wish to improve their knowledge
and skills. Here, I believe, e-books are
certain to come into their own.”

Tabon Books

Eric Yang, president of RHK (and Tabon Books)

(6,360) and Enjoy Europe a Hundred
Times (2,830). There are now 48 apps in
the series, and president Eric Yang plans
to have 120 by the end of this year. (As
a comparison, RHK publishes 450 print
titles annually with over 4,000 titles in
its catalogue, the largest list among
Korean publishers.)
Interestingly, the RHK apps are priced
the same as its print books. “Our rationale is simple. Apps can do certain things
that print books can’t, and this adds significant value to the travel book genre.
For instance, they can deliver on-site
information to users via GPS [global
positioning system]. Judging from the
number of downloads, our pricing strategy works well and our customers appreciate the added value they are getting
from the apps.”
Piracy will always be an issue with
digital products, Yang adds. “No digital
product can be 100% secure. So the
trick, as I see it, is to make them secure
enough to deter all but the most determined and ingenious hackers, at the
same time pricing them at such a level
that it is simply not worth pirating
them. Take a look at iTunes—most of the
music there is free if one knows where to
look, but many listeners would rather
pay a relatively small fee for a service that
is legal, reliable and virus-free. So digital
publishers can take heart and learn from
iTunes’ experience.”
Down the road, Yang intends to build
RHK’s reputation as a world leader in
terms of digital product innovation and
quality. “All our homegrown products

will be reconfigured for the global marketplace. At present, we are placing more
emphasis on educational content, as this
is a segment in the e-book market where
we can play a significant and increasingly
valuable role.”
For Yang, publishing of all types has to
adapt to a crowded marketplace where
the Internet, social networking, instant
messaging, virtual pinboards, video
streaming and video on-demand are all
vying for people’s attention and time.
“Publishers need to find their place in it.
Many people will still like to read the
good old print book, particularly for certain genres. As for e-books, their role will
grow quickly because of their capacity for
interactivity, multimedia delivery and
instant feedback. Their potential as vehicles for pure entertainment is perhaps
Established nine months ago as a joint
venture between book publisher RHK
(see page 14) and Korea’s top homeshopping outlet GS Shop, Tabon Books
aims to make life easier—and more profitable—for e-publishers. Despite its
young age, Tabon already counts Chicago-based World Book among its clients. “World Book wanted an integrated
and future-proof solution that facilitates
direct selling to U.S. schools and libraries, and allows online browsing for end
users,” says CTO Wiki Lee. “We came up
with a portal, WorldBookOnline, that
provides access to securely encrypted and
rights-managed e-books on Android and
iOS devices using our in-house EPub3
Viewer, along with online access via any
major web browser. We believe we were
the first to offer this capability.” Hundreds of World Book titles were converted from InDesign to interactive
EPub3 using Tabon’s highly automated
process, and WorldBookOnline went
“live” this January.

(l. to r.) Producer of created content Martin Preston, CFO Victor Kang, marketing manager
Dennis Kim, CTO Wiki Lee and general manager Kanghee Jung of Tabon Books

16 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y ■ M A R C H 2 4 , 2 0 1 4


You are cordially
Koh Young-soo
the President of KPA

During the London Book Fair, we
would like to cordially invite everyone
to take the time to browse through
exhibitions and seminars prepared
by the Korean Publishers Association including an exhibition of newly
released titles to get an overview of
recent trends in the Korean publication market and special seminars
covering different topics and issues
of the publication industry. We are
proud to present a special exhibition

I would like to say how honored we

are to be a part of the Market Focus at
the London Book Fair and how happy
I am personally to be able to give English and European readers an insight
into our vibrant Korean publishing

I firmly believe that the Market Focus 2014 will be a genuinely stimulating environment, where people of
all nations can share their vision for a
brighter publishing future united by a
love of books. I am also confident that
the Market Focus pavilion will be remembered fondly as a place where new
ideas were sparked, new titles born and
new friends made.

which introduces renowned Korean
authors and their works, the recent
development in e-book contents and
e-book related technology, and Korean Modern Literature and the Lifeline
which will highlight the Korean War
seen through Korean modern literary
works and the literary and social importance of DMZ (the demilitarized
zone around the 38th parallel division
line between North and South Korea).
As an IT powerhouse, Korea is a leading pioneer in the field of webtoon,
and with a belief that webtoons will
be a new field that will lead the Korean Wave in Europe, we have prepared
a special webtoon booth for this book
fair to which everyone is invited to peruse and enjoy the digital rendition of
Korean manhwa.
A meeting between Korean and British writers is scheduled and with a va-

riety of seminars planned for publication experts, we believe that this book
fair will provide wonderful opportunities to introduce Korean literary
works in the British market, one of the
most important publication markets
in Europe, and to discover new ways
to build a closer network between the
two countries.

I sincerely hope that your time spent

at the market focus will deepen your
understanding of diverse contents and
exciting new titles produced by the Korean publication industry and deepen
your friendship and understanding
with everyone by sharing your passion
for books. Thank you.

To a successful

Korea Market Focus
In order to match the reputation of the
book fair, all staff members preparing
for the Korea Market Focus at London
Book Fair 2014 spared no efforts to
make it a greaWt opportunity for the
publishers from across the world to experience and explore Korea through a
variety of cultural events, seminars and
special programs.

Welcoming Korea
to London Book
Fair 2014

Once again I hope 2014 Korea Market

Focus will be a successful one and London Book Fair to continue to establish
its status as the world’s most renowned
book fair.

Eric W. S. Yang

Chairman of Executive Committee
Korea Market Focus 2014

After almost 18 months of prepara-

tion, The London Book Fair is ready
to welcome Korea as the Market
Focus 2014! Bringing 24 exhibiting
companies from across the industry,
10 contemporary writers, and a spectacular pavilion, the Korea Market
Focus promises to be a major highlight of the Fair. From Hwang Sun-mi
as Wednesday’s Author of the Day, to
the COO of YES24 at the Publishing
for Digital Minds Conference, to the
daily Korean Networking Tea, and
the many author events and business-to-business seminars, the Market Focus 2014 programme will be
as varied and exciting as Korea itself.
Come and join the K-wave!

Amy Webster

International & Market Focus Manager
– The London Book Fair

Proje c t Sh ow c ase

Digital Publishing in Korea 2014

When its vendor was unable to produce a
viable architecture for a custom-made
online B2B platform, Chicago-based World
Book turned to Tabon Books. “The eventual
WorldBookOnline portal, which services more
than 1,000 schools and libraries, allows
end users to browse or download titles with
rights managed dynamically by World Book
using a secure system. It is fully integrated
with the publisher’s existing online system,” says CTO Wiki Lee. The team had to
contend with some pre-conversion issues such as the extent of enhancement to
each series or title, fonts to be applied (and licensed by the publisher) and the format of the viewer user interface. “Extra features were added following consultation with their school and
library clients, and still more were added after beta testing. In December 2013, roughly one year after our
initial meeting, full control of the portal was handed over to World Book. We continue to be responsible for
specific key technical functions.” The source code for the entire platform is placed with a secure third-party
escrow service to protect World Book’s interests in any unforeseen circumstances. The second phase, which
will see the platform expanded with features such as a learning management system and teacher support,
commenced early this year.

“EPub3 is the format of the future,”
explains Lee. “Our goal is to use it to create a single e-book file good for all devices
and operating systems, with built-in security and rights management systems, so
that publishers are free to try new business
models and add all the interactive features
that content creators could wish for without worrying about compatibility. Three
years ago, few in the industry thought it
was possible, but we have proved otherwise. Now we urge all content creators to
go with EPub3. I say to them, ‘If you can
think of it, we can deliver it.’ ”
Nevertheless, Martin Preston, head of
created content at Tabon, says, “With
e-books, our experience is that just
because you can does not always mean you
should. We have exciting projects of our
own in the pipeline, all of which make use
of EPub3 specifications in different ways.
But before we go ‘live’ with any of them,
we want to know what our customers
think. E-publishers and app developers
have produced some great stuff over the
last three years, but sadly there has not
always been a market for them. We do not
intend to fall into that trap.”
Meanwhile, Tabon is reaching out to
both e-book publishers and readers with

the Tabon eBook Shopping Mall concept,
which was recently launched in Korea. As
Tabon CEO and president Eric Yang
explains, “Through my presidency at the
Asia Pacific Publishers Association, I discovered that e-publishers in Asia are not
too keen on the ‘one world’ approach
taken by Amazon and, to a lesser extent,
Apple. Publishing in Asia, and in many
other parts of the world, is inextricably
linked to cultural and national identity,
which publishers want to preserve. We
responded to this need by developing an
online mall for e-book sellers in which
every publisher has their own ‘storefront’
identity. We give them the freedom to sell
their e-books the way they want—and if
it works, we share in their success.” It is a
win-win situation for all, he concludes.

Y Factory
Highly interactive books and apps for
children are the specialty of Y Factory.
“We deliver educational and entertaining experiences via smart devices with
the goal of helping children develop a
love for learning and remain curious
about our amazing world,” says CEO
Ryan Kim, whose seven-member team

18 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y ■ M A R C H 2 4 , 2 0 1 4

has produced 85 titles through collaborations with overseas publishers. “We differ from other companies in the way we
look at content. To us, content needs to
appeal to children’s emotions and be
designed in a way that invites them to
explore, learn and be entertained. Smart
devices’ touch features can make content
come alive, but this is not enough. The
content itself is the key.”
Kim cites the app Exploring the Solar
System, which is filled with information
about the solar system. “We don’t simply
stuff it with pretty pictures of the stars
and night sky or lots of information
about space. Rather, we want to communicate facts and information at a level
that is appropriate for young children
but not dumbed down. Our biggest challenge was finding resources suitable for
the app. Half of our time was spent on
researching, identifying sources and
obtaining permission,” explains project
manager Bohyeon Lim, adding that the
app was among last year’s best 10 digital
titles selected by KPIPA (Publication
Industry Promotion Agency of Korea).
Then there is iLeoBooks, which offers
app publishing services for picture
books, fairy tales and storybooks. “The


An Overview of the Korean Publishing Market
11:30—12:30 in the Wellington Room
Speakers: Baek, Won-keun • Sue Yang • Kim, Eun-kyung


April 08 (Tuesday)

Case Study: A Smart strategy for Education and Travel eBook
16:30—17:00 at the Event Hall of the Market Focus Pavilion
Speaker: Kim Sungyoon of iPortfolio

April 09 (Wednesday)
Case Study: A Smart Strategy for Education and Travel eBook
16:30—17:00 at the Event Hall of the Market Focus Pavilion
Speaker: Kim Sungyoon of iPortfolio
Korean Children’s Book Market
13:00~14:00 in the Wellington Room
Speakers: Kim, In-ae (Su Jung) l Nam, Yoon-jeong • Lee, Sin-woo
Getting Korean Literature to a World Audience:
Translation and Publication Grants
14:30—15:30 at the Wellington Room
Speakers: Kim, Seong-kon • John O’Brien
From Immigrant Housemaid to Harvard PhD:
Korean Non-fiction Author Ms. Jin Robertson
10:00—11:00 at the Event Hall of the Market Focus Pavilion
Chair: Daniel Crewe (Profile Books)
Talktoon: Regarding Korean Web Cartoon by NAVER
11:00—12:00 at the Event Hall of the Market Focus Pavilion
Korea Picture Books 51
13:00—14:00 at the Event Hall of the Market Focus Pavilion
Korean Tea Time: Children’s Book
14:00—14:30 at the Business Lounge of the Market Focus Pavilion
Lecture: The Highlight of the Modern Korean Literature
15:30—16:00 at the Event Hall of the Market Focus Pavilion
Speaker: Yi, Hyun-Shik (Ph.D in Korean Literature)


Korean Tea Time: Digital Publishing
14:00—14:30 at the Business Lounge of the Market Focus Pavilion


Korean Technology and the Digital Publishing Scene
13:00—14:00 in the Wellington Room
Speakers: Michael Kim • Robert S. Kim • Cho, Han-yeol • Ryan Kim

Proje c t Sh ow c ase

Digital Publishing in Korea 2014

At first glance, Y Factory’s Biber and Red Boots HD appears to be
just like any other normal storybook app. However, the special interactive and animation features embedded in the heartwarming story of
friendship tell a different tale. “Most of our apps are developed based
on research into children’s growth and mental development. For
instance, studies have shown that direct response interaction is not
good for children’s brain development, while cooperative interaction
produces a more positive impact on both social and mental development. So in Biber and Red Boots HD, there are no touch buttons to
allow immediate responses or immediate interactivity. Instead, children are given more control over the story as they literally ‘animate’ the scene as they go along. They imagine
and think about what the next scene will bring and how the rest of the story unfolds. This engages their
thought and creative processes,” explains CEO Ryan Kim, adding that children can enjoy the professionally
narrated story as a movie or read it themselves and have fun with the stickers, coloring and the puzzles.
Similarly, for the app Exploring the Solar System, natural phenomena such as lunar phases, earth’s tides
and solar eclipses are explained and further illustrated through interactive activities. “Kids have to understand exactly how each phenomenon happens and then simulate the effect using the on-screen interactive
functions. This creates a more lasting impression and deeper understanding,” says Kim.


apps developed will have features such as
multilingual support, text and audio
synchronization, auto-play and games.
Our one-stop solution includes developing new content, repurposing existing
content, licensing special characters or
animation, sourcing illustrators, launching the app and marketing it in various
e-bookstores,” adds Kim. About 50 iLeoBook titles have been released in a partnership with children’s publisher
Yearimdang, and the plan is to add 5–10
new titles annually.
Recently, Y Factory launched a unique
app with hand-crafted woolen dolls in a
story called Biber and Red Boots HD. “The
app’s most unique feature is a special
CEO Ryan Kim (r.; standing) of Y Factory with his team
function that allows kids to control each
scene’s animation frame by frame. This
their vocabulary, hone their understandwill allow them to uncover their chilbeautiful app and its titles are now availing of the storyline, and improve their
dren’s abilities or find out specifically
able in iOS and Android, and for Samthought and creative processes through
where their kids need more help. We
sung SmartTV as well soon,” says Kim.
solving questions hidden in each story.
want to make reading interesting and
A cloud-based reading management
This system will help parents guide their
cultivate a healthy reading habit in young
system (RMS) is also in the works.
children’s reading progress through userkids. This is very important given the
Explains Kim, “It helps children grow
based recommendation algorithms. It
universal decline in reading habits.” ■

PW would like to thank the following for supporting our efforts and making this report possible: Eric Yang, director of the
market focus executive committee and president of both RHK and Tabon Books; and Eunjeong Kim, Eunhee Kim and
Kyoungwon Kim of the international project department at the Korean Publishers Association.
20 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y ■ M A R C H 2 4 , 2 0 1 4

Driving the Content Industry Forward

Digital Publishing in Korea 2014

Joining hands to promote publishing, literature, and reading
Nothing gets the work done faster, or makes the word
travel further, than having the might of the government
behind it or the united action of a group of individuals
with shared interests. In the Korean publishing industry,
such synergy is evident and has been very effective. Two
of the four major organizations working to disseminate
Korean content, literature and culture inside and outside

of the country are under the aegis of the government:
KPIPA (Publication Industry Promotion Agency of Korea)
and LTI Korea (Literature Translation Institute of Korea).
The other two, KPA (Korean Publishers Association) and
KEPA (Korea Electronic Publishing Association), count on
the collective strength of their members to pursue their
common goals and protect their interests as one entity.


awareness about the importance of reading among Koreans and promoting the Korean publishing industry to the world, the fair aims
to facilitate the international book trade. Last year, over 25 countries, 610 exhibitors and 129,210 visitors attended the fair. More information about SIBF and KPA is found at

Paving the way for
more open discussions and exchanges,
and improving networking between Korean and international publishers, has always been the objective of the 620-member KPA. At
the coming London Book Fair, where Korea is the market focus, at
least 27 publishers, 11 authors and four industry-related associations
(including KPIPA and Korea Creative Content Agency) will join
KPA to further this objective.
“At the Korea pavilion, the spotlight will be on both digital and
traditional publishing. It will offer a varied selection of our best digital content and a close-up look at Korea’s relatively young but welldeveloped digital publishing industry,” says international project
manager Eunjeong Kim, adding that special exhibits on authors as
well as pre- and post-Korean War literature have also been planned.
“Visitors will get to meet Sunmi Hwang, the Market Focus Author
of the Day, and view rare photos and videos about the Korean Demilitarized Zone.”
In total, around 5,000 titles will be showcased at the 516-squaremeter pavilion. More than 30 events, a mixture of professional and
cultural, have been scheduled. Korea’s fast-growing digital publishing industry, for instance, will be the focus of a fascinating presentation that discusses the changing reading patterns in the mobile environment, lessons learned from the global e-book market, opportunities for publishers’ own app-based distribution channels, and technology for preventing device addiction in children. “Korean digital
publishers will share a lot of insights and experience from dealing
with the domestic market, which is the most wired nation on earth,”
adds Kim.
Another event is “Toon Talk: Webtoons, a New Trend in Korean
Digital Comics,” which highlights Korea’s unique webtoons in an
interview with famed webtoon writer Taeho Yoon. “Events such as
Toon Talk are an acknowledgment of the importance and popularity
of Korean manhwa and webtoons around the world, and they afford
visitors an insight into this particular genre,” says Kim. Other sessions, such as “Writing Literature After History,” “Illusions and Reality: Writing the Self,” “Writing Home: Migrant Literature,” “Adaptations: From Page to Screen” and “Korean Translation Slam,”
serve to enhance the outside world’s understanding of Korean literature and culture.
Back home, KPA is busy organizing the five-day Seoul International Book Fair (, which celebrates its 20th anniversary on June 18 to coincide with the opening. Aside from raising

After K-pop, K-style and K-drama, the
next hanllyu, or Korean wave, to sweep
the world may be K-books. This is the
goal that KPIPA is working toward.
“We are nurturing new growth engines in the publishing industry in line
with the digital era. The aim is to create
a balance between print books and ebooks in the publishing ecosystem,” says Jaeho Lee, president of
president Jaeho Lee, whose team runs an KPIPA
extensive Web site ( offering services that include
product marketing, sales statistics, copyright search and a database
for products and solutions offered by Korean publishers.
High on KPIPA’s agenda is the promotion of reading. “Korea is
not immune to the decline in reading and book sales. So the way to
ensure the survival and growth of our publishing industry is to get
people to read and continue reading. Creating an environment that
encourages reading in school and integrating reading into everyday
life is essential. Throughout the year, KPIPA holds book awards, online reading education programs, and reading campaigns (known as
book concerts in Korea), as well as reading activities in institutions
serving the underprivileged,” adds Lee, emphasizing the need to
raise awareness of the value of books to create market demand and
advance the industry within the country.
Next on the organization’s to-do list is creating and promoting
quality content. “The goal is to elevate our product competitiveness
and revitalize every stage of the publishing and delivery process,
from creation, production and distribution to consumption.” Aside
from conducting industry research and organizing seminars and forums on publishing-related processes, Lee and his team also support
e-book translation for export and Korean digital companies’ participation in international book fairs. “We need to build an extensive
infrastructure for the continuous development of the publishing industry in this digital age.”
KPIPA, an affiliated organization of the Ministry of Culture,
Sports and Tourism, spares no effort to nurture new talents who can
take advantage of the emerging changes in the publishing business.
“We support internship programs for small and medium-sized pubW W W . P U B L I S H E R S W E E K LY. C O M


Digital Publishing in Korea 2014

lishing houses that are aimed at preparing the next generation of professional publishers, editors, designers and translators to take Korean publishing to the global marketplace.”
The upcoming London Book Fair will see KPIPA hosting an e-publishing seminar with the CEOs of i-ePUB, iPortfolio, BookJam and
Y Factory. Seven digital solutions companies, including Tabon Books,
Orange Digit and Book & Book, will be exhibiting under KPIPA’s epublishing stand. KPIPA will also have the Korean e-publishing stand
at the BookExpo, Beijing and Frankfurt fairs this year, and a Digital
Book Fair in Korea on November 6–8. More information can be found

Established in 1992, KEPA (
has been supporting the country’s e-content publishing activities through education, publishing support and certification
programs. More than 500 people attend
these programs annually.
“According to a report by the Korea Creative Content Agency, or KOCCA, the
Kiyoung Chang,
market for smart content was worth 1.94
tril lion won [approximately $1.82 billion] secretary-general at
in 2012, and estimated to grow by 22%
annually to reach 3.54 trillion won [$3.3 billion] by 2015,” says KEPA
secretary general Kiyoung Chang. With more than 35 million smartphones and two million tablets in use in Korea, “distributors such as
Kyobo, Yes24, SK Planet, Barobook, U Paper, Book Cube Networks
and Ridibooks are flourishing, and will continue to see higher sales
growth coming from e-books.”
That growth forecast has prompted large publishers, hitherto uninterested in e-content, to jump on the digital bandwagon. “The number
of one-man e-book companies has also increased sharply. These two
changes have caused a steep rise in the volume of e-content in the market. At the same time, with the government mandating the setting up
of digital classrooms by 2015, we are seeing more e-textbooks being
published. The launch of Google e-bookstore and an Amazon office in
Korea is another milestone for our e-book industry,” adds Chang.
Competition has driven the birth of many local content players. Explains Chang, “In the operating system segment, there was no other
way to compete with Apple or Google except to develop one’s own systems and content. Previously, there was Daum with Hanmail. Today,
we have Naver in the portal/search engine market and Kakao in mobile
content provision. Kakao, for instance, started PageStore to offer short
stories with accompanying music and video. This is a great example of
content strategy for the mobile era.”
Korean mobile platform developers are in a unique position, adds
Chang. “Our society is an early adopter of smartphones, tablets and
smartTVs, and massive amounts of content and apps have been produced to meet the demand. In fact, more than 1,500 pieces of smart
content are created daily for use in areas such as gaming, reading, commuting, social networking, travel and banking.”
Given the fast-growing smart content industry, KEPA’s multifaceted role has expanded over the years. It also serves as an advisor to ebook start-ups, a testing center (equipped with mobile and e-reading

22 P U B L I S H E R S W E E K L Y ■ M A R C H 2 4 , 2 0 1 4

devices all kinds from around the world) and an e-book support center
(which gives advice on shifting from traditional to digital publishing).
“KEPA also expanded with three new branches last year, and we will
see another three or four this year,” says Chang.

LTI Korea
Cultural translation is the focus of 13-yearold LTI Korea, whose mission is to communicate the unique essence and sophisticated
flavors of Korean culture through translations. As president Seongkon Kim says,
“Translation involves not only exchanges in
spoken and written language but also transference achieved through other media forms,
Seongkon Kim,
such as audio, visual and cultural content.
president of LTI Korea
Our role is to promulgate Korean culture
and literature through highly selective translations.” In fact, February
saw Kim signing an agreement with On-Book TV to collaboratively
plan and create content based on Korean literature in different languages
for overseas readers, and promote it through the 24-hour cable channel.
LTI Korea’s latest accomplishment is the collaboration with Dalkey
Archive Press to publish the Library of Korean Literature, focusing on
works by some major Korean authors. “Ten titles have been released
since November, including Kwangsu Yi’s The Soil and Kiho Lee’s At
Least We Can Apologize, and we plan to complete the whole 25-title series by the end of next year,” says associate director of translation and
publication division Kyunghee Park, adding that promoting Korean
literature overseas is the core LTI Korea activity. “For instance, we hold
forums in major publishing and literary centers to foster communication
and exchange between Korean writers, foreign publishers, agents and
translators, and to discuss ways of integrating Korean literature into
overseas markets. Six such forums were held last year in the U.S., France,
Germany, Argentina, China and Japan.” The biennial Seoul International Writers’ Festival, set for the end of September and featuring 14
Korean and 14 international writers, is another LTI Korea program to
foster closer collaboration and communication (
“We also facilitate the application for translation and publishing
grants, training programs for literary translators, international translation and publishing workshops, and granting of fellowships to
Korean literature scholars. Our Translation Academy, for instance,
offers intensive courses in five languages—English, French, German,
Spanish and Russian—with full financial support for a year. The goals
of these activities vary from promoting the export of Korean literature
to cultivating the next generation of translators for Korean literature,”
adds Park.
Additionally, LTI Korea produces publications such as the quarterly
List magazine, which help overseas agencies and publishers looking
for new Korean works and authors, or seeking to understand the finer
points of Korean literature and its latest trends. The winter 2013
issue’s focus on K-moms, for instance, turns the spotlight on mothers
and motherhood with works such as Kyungsook Shin’s Please Look After Mother and Sunmi Hwang’s The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly.
More information on LTI Korea and its extensive programs, Korean
literature exports and its author/title database can be found at
—Teri Tan
Twitter twitter.book_festival
naver blog

18 - 22 June 2014
Hall A, COEX
Guest of Honor_ Oman
Culture Focus_ Italy

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