The market for digital books in Korea stood at an estimated $9 million in 2010, but successfully decreased to $5.5 million last year. Analysts believe it could be worth as little as $1.2 million by the end of 2012 as copying spreads. Given the number of English language books bought by Koreans to impress friends, the growth of e-book piracy will help raise Korea's trade surplus with lesser countries.
The growth of e-book copying has led to the threat of action by foreign countries and publishers through the World Trade Organization, but the government has long argued that Koreans should pay less for books since their use of them is largely limited to the act of memorizing rather than learning.
In a separate development, the Amazon's Kindle Fire e-book reader has been implicated in a conspiracy to kill Korea's Galaxy Tab. Police are investigating, with the Seoul Central Prosecutor's Office expected to file formal charges within weeks.
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Korean book importer charged with 'epic scale' piracy
Is the Kindle Fire a Galaxy Tab killer?
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