While amazon.kp is still be a pipedream, the North Korean ebook market looks set for a boost with the imminent launch of the Arirang e-reader. Created by the Pyongyang Information Technology Bureau, the device has apparently been paraded on North Korean television as an example of the country’s technological capabilities. Running a version of Android, the Arirang is being touted as an educational tool.
However… reports now suggest that the device looks strikingly similar to a Chinese item that’s been doing the rounds for a while now. The Chinese device exists in various sizes, costing between $40 and $120. Given North Korea’s economic situation, it’s hard to imagine too many customers for the new device, regardless of its provenance.
There is an ebook market in North Korea, going under the catchy title of Electronic Library Mirae (Future) 2.0. Around 1,500 books and up to half a million other types of document are said to be available, including translations of western ‘classics’ such as Jane Eyre and Gone With the Wind. So far, though, there’s no sign of any opportunities for self-published authors to get their books seen in the country.