E-book sales may be declining in the U.S. and U.K., but in South Korea, many people still enjoy swiping instead of leafing through their reading material. E-book sales there are growing steadily each year, driven in part by the popularity of web comics. Ridibooks, which claims to be Korea’s largest e-book provider, has raised a $20 million Series C to take advantage of the market.
Investors in the round include Praxis Capital Partners, ShinHan Finance Investment, and Company K Partners. The capital will be used to improve the user experience of Ridibooks’ products, which now include Ridibooks, its main bookstore, an e-reader called Ridipaper, and Ridistory, a platform it launched in January for serialized novels and web comics.
TaeWoo Kim, Ridibooks’ business manager, says e-book sales in Korea are increasing about 25 percent to 30 percent every year. Ridistory was launched in response to user demand for serialized novels and comics and its top-selling title, a romance novel called “Under the Oak Tree,” has already hit one million views.
Ridibooks made $50 million in revenue last year and currently has more than 2.5 million users who have downloaded a total of 175 million e-books. Its stores have 784,000 titles from 2,000 publishers. Along with its previous rounds, including an $8 million Series B closed at the end of 2014, Ridibooks has raised $35 million to date.