Publishing Industry Left out in the Cold amid Korean Wave

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Wednesday, July 10th, 2013
SEOUL, KOREA- In contrast to the wider content industries such as films and music that have benefited from the Korean Wave for years, the publishing industry is languishing in perennial mediocrity. According to the Korean Publishers Association on July 9, the number of book titles published last year was 39,767, down 9.7 percent from the previous year. The total number of books published was 86,906,643 last year, a 35-percent drop from 132,503,119 in 2007.
 
Of these, translations accounted for 25.7 percent, which means that publishing houses have difficulty finding promising authors. Even among the translated books, most are narrowly focused on Japanese and English books. For example, the number of translated book titles from Japanese original last year was 3,948.
 
Amid the serious downturn in the publishing industry, exports of books have increased steadily. According to the "2012 Content Industry Statistical Yearbook" published jointly by the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism and the Korea Creative Contents Agency, the export volume recorded by the publishing industry increased to US$357.9 million in 2010 from $213.1 million in 2007. Although the figure dipped to $283.4 million in 2011, the general trend is on an upswing.