Originally Posted by Lynx-lynx
I made the mistake of thinking that ereaders were de rigeur so to speak in the first world countries (at least) and it wouldn't have dawned on me that two of the most technologically advanced nations, in terms of electronics makers, wouldn't buy ereaders like some other countries do. (Japan and Korea)
Not sure quite what it is. They seem to have given up now, but until recently iRiver, Kyobo, Samsung, etc. were trying to push eink (and even mirasol) readers in Korea: people simply did not buy them.
One thing I suspect is that Koreans simply read fewer books (aside from textbooks), and more importantly those they do read they read at home, negating the portability benefit of an ereader. You simply don't see Koreans in public reading for pleasure: from what I can gather they see this as anti-social / isolating. It's really strange that in the omnipresent coffee shops here in Korea you'll never see a single person alone reading a novel (which would of course be typical of such places in the West). Rather they're all in groups either studying or talking or playing on their cellphones/tablets together: to be or do anything alone is very taboo. Same goes for parks, beaches, etc.
Edit -- Seems iRiver is still selling them. An iRiver Story HD can be picked up for ~$130, which seems reasonable although unsure if there's any way to load English firmware on the Korean models. Would be great if we could order the Kobo Glo from Japan here (only ~$100 from Rakuten!) but they won't ship to Korea. Paperwhite importers want ~$230 for an ad-free wifi model on Gmarket!