SEOUL, KOREA – With ever changing information and technology today’s world, the publication industry is also evolving into electronically based industry, but some of the criticism remain for the fact that Korean publication industry has not been up to date with current global trend. Young-goog Park, Director General of Media Policy Bureau of the Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism talked about the five year plan of promotion of publication industry in an interview with Korea IT Times.
Q. To start off, can you please explain the future plan for the next five years of publication industry promotion Agency of Korea.
A. As you know, the society has become more of the knowledge based and with the all the resources we have to gather, promotion of publication industry appears to come to an important position in Korea. However, the information people are gathering is not necessarily from the paper-print based publication, but rather from the digital-content based, and we can see that from reduction of paper-print publication from 102 million print-based publications in 2010 to about 100 million publications printed in 2011.
But there are also positive aspects of it as well. Although the paper-based publication has been reduced over the course of last couple of years, the electronic publication is growing very fast and we expect for the Korean electronic publication to expand from the revenue of USD208 million in 2011 to almost USD400 million industry in 2015. This is positively affected by the growth and popularity K-Pop in the world.
With that in mind, our future plan for the 5 years is certainly focusing on the vision of becoming more globalized publishing powerhouse in the world, strengthening the competitiveness of publication contents, establishing advanced distribution environment, revitalizing the overseas expansion, and discovering new growth industry. We also have 23 subsidiary performance tasks that have been already set up in order to accomplish the mentioned 5 main focus.
We hope that this can accomplish and help other industries to grow and eventually help the whole economy of Korea.
Q. How are you planning to expand Korean publication industry globally
A. Well, the previous problem we had in facing Korean publication industry making more global was that not a lot of publishing companies were interested in exporting their publications, and some of the lack of interest is due to the lack of distribution support from the government. So we want to help the companies export their publications by giving them the easier way to distribute. Also we want to make sure we can discover new authors and ideas that can provide contents that can work overseas. After that we hope to have more translated contents. We plan to have a system in which publishing companies, translators and agencies can work together. Not only that we can also broaden publication genre, so that we don’t just focus on one or two themes, such as novels or essays, but we can definitely put more emphasis on children’s books, cartoons, “how-to” books and humanity books.
The Agency hopes that we can make the Seoul International Book Fair to become the herb of the Asian book industry. We can invite more companies and people related to publishing industry in the world and as well as send Korean agencies to various book fairs in the world to build a pedestal for Korean companies and authors to have many opportunities to meet those overseas.
Q. Please tell us about the Publication Export Support Center.
A. The support has been lacking in terms of helping publishing companies to expand overseas. In order to enhance such support we have created the Publication Export Support Center which can become ‘One-Stop’ location for the companies to obtain all the information and resources, including monetary support, companies need to export their publications. We plan to provide necessary contents, export educations, and services. Specifically, we will give 1) information center that provides various information with respect to the languages, countries, and continents, 2) professional education on IP related contents, and 3) services for liaison overseas publishers, contracts, legal information, by which small business publishers can look to export their contents.
Q. How do you plan to expand electronic books industry in Korea
A. Despite the fact that the electronic books are growing in Korea, the electronic contents that are actually being distributed is quite small and mainly focused on novels. Also only 14% of the entire publishing companies in Korea are participating in the electronic book markets. To resolve some of the problems I just mentioned we plan to select outstanding e-books and give financial support to produce e-books. We hope to have more than 15 million published e-books by 2016. Furthermore, we will build OSMF that publishers can publish both paper-based and electronic publications at the same time and a necessary infrastructure that help publish e-books.
Q. What are the barriers in making Korean publications more globalized
A. The first and foremost is the enhancement of communication and cultural exchange with the other countries. Literature Translation Institute of Korea has a program in which authors in Korea have chances to meet with the one in China and the US. We usually open those programs 6 times a year and we hope to have more of those programs every year. Plus, we can expand a residency program by which Korean authors have the chance to live abroad and we have 12 to 15 foreign authors coming to live in Korea.