For those here looking at the long-term global ebook markets, this is significant. For the rest of you, go read or watch A Christmas Carol. Then come back and read this with Christmas Future in mind.
Ridibooks have just secured another round of funding for expansion of their ebook business. (LINK) They already control 40% of the Korean ebook market.
Korea is a surprisingly strong player in the global publishing world and, perhaps even more surprisingly, a very strong player in ESL. English as a Second Language. As the year ends Korean firms have been very active in Latin America on the other side of the world, for example, offering ESL literature.
A reminder as ever that we are lucky enough to write in the one global language. English. Don’t let that stroke of good fortune go to waste.
Korea is an exciting, literate, hi-tech market that understands it has a geographically niche language, and places a premium on the English language.
As yet no easy way to get indie EL titles (or indeed translated titles) into Ridibooks or other domestic South Korean ebook stores, and of course neither Amazon nor Apple are there. Fortunately Google Play is, and Kobo has designs on Korea. South Korea, at least. Even I’m not so optimistic as to envisage a North Korea ebook market kicking off any time soon.
No, South Korea is not a market to go expending time and energy on right now, unless you have contacts there or know the language. But it is certainly not one to ignore.
Getting noticed by a Korean publisher could bring its own rewards, but more importantly our guess is Ridibooks has its eyes on the wider world. With both Amazon and Apple effective non-players in the Asian ebook scene (Amazon only in India, China and Japan, Apple only in Japan) the region is wide open for “local” players like Korea’s Ridibooks, Thailand’s Ookbee and Indonesia’s Scoop to gain traction.
Make no mistake. The global ebook market will eclipse the US ebook market many times in the coming years. And Asia will be at the forefront.
No, no point busting a blood vessel trying to get there. But as we saw recently when Brit indies took the number one spot on Kindle China, if you’re not there you could be missing out.