More funds for e-book biz

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More funds for e-book biz

The Culture Ministry yesterday pledged to allocate 60 billion won ($54 million) to the electronic publishing industry.

The ministry hopes to see the industry grow by more than five times to 700 billion won by 2014, it said yesterday at a press conference.

It envisions the e-publishing industry as embracing e-dictionaries, mobile books (for people without smartphones) and audio books.

The ministry said it hopes the funds will help businesses in the e-publishing industry diversify content, advance distribution systems and promote digital reading.

It also plans to form a committee on the e-publishing industry. The committee will be revamp copyright and related laws to facilitate the use of paper books as digital content.

Thus far, publishers have had a lukewarm reaction to the e-book business, based on concerns about illegal piracy and complicated copyright issues, the ministry said.

The e-publishing industry is gathering steam here amid the recent release of e-book reading gadgets such as the Amazon Kindle and the Apple iPhone and iPad. That has prompted Korean conglomerates, led by Samsung, LG and KT, to develop their own devices.

At the press briefing, Culture Minister Yu In-chon used an iPad, which has yet to gain approval for import. The Korea Customs Service currently bans the product on the grounds that its radio waves have not yet been certified by the Korea Communications Commission. The photo of him with the device has been circulated on the Web, inciting public criticism.

By Seo Ji-eun []
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