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Taiwan will see boom in e-book market: publisher

2012/05/06 14:56:25

Taipei, May 6 (CNA) Taiwan's e-book market will grow dramatically in the next three years as a large number of e-book readers and tablets is expected to be available in the region by then, a local publisher said recently.

By 2015, the number of e-book readers and tablets is expected to exceed two million units in Taiwan, a figure that is big enough to drive forward the e-book industry faster," Yu Kuo-ting, chairman of the Taipei-based Taiwan E-book Association, told CNA in an interview.

Taiwan's e-book industry lags behind the United States' by three to five years, and thus 2015 is very likely to be the turning point, said Yu, who is also the managing director of Master60 Publishing Ltd.

Citing comments made by George Slowik, president of Publishers Weekly, Yu said that the U.S. e-book market has been mature, accounting for 25 percent of the country's total publishing industry, and that the share is expected to double within three years before reaching 80 percent in five years.

However, Yu noted that electronic books can never replace paper books, as "the demand for traditional books is always there."

Although e-books have the strengths of comprehensiveness and ease of sharing and searching, "there are always people who prefer to indulge themselves in the world of reading through turning the pages and smelling the scent of books," Yu said.

He said publishers in Taiwan need to find a new business model to flow with the trend, such as selling books in both traditional and digital versions, as the paper book market is shrinking, while the e-book market is relatively small at the moment.

Shawn Liu, operation project specialist of the largest publishing business in Taiwan -- Cite Publishing Group -- also told CNA that another worry people in the industry have is piracy.

Liu attributed the underdeveloped market to the fact that some publishers are still not familiar with the new model and see the digital versions as being easy to copy illegally.

"We have been working hard to protect the copyright of mobile content and measures have been taken," he said.

Besides enhancing content encryption, a Taiwanese publishing alliance has also decided to establish an online information-sharing platform on Facebook to protect the copyright of mobile content.

(By James Lee)