What Power Outage? North Korea’s Got E-books Too

In What's the Buzz by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka

North Korea as Seen from Space

North Korea at night as seen from space

There’s a famous photograph — reproduced here — of the Korean peninsula at night as seen from space. The lower half, which is lit up light a light bulb, is South Korea; on top, in the dark, is North Korea. Despite the near constant power outages, that hasn’t stopped the North Korean government from jointing the digital publishing revolution…

In an interesting coda to our story about North Korean literature, it turns out North Korea is also dabbling e-books. The Korea Times reports that North Korea Radio’s Kim Seong-min, who claimed “North Koreans have choices beyond government propaganda books to read on their computers, including translations of Western classics such as Shakespeare’s plays, The Iliad, Don Quixote, Jane Eyre, Les Miserables and even Gone With The Wind. The government appears to be behind the project. There is even, apparently, a North Korean e-reading computer program. Dubbed “Electronic Library Mirae (Future) 2.0” it runs on  Microsoft Windows. “Mirae 2.0 opens a page that resembles a conventional library search site, and provides access to the electronic versions of about 1,500 books and 350,000 kinds of other documents,” and is fully searcheable.

About the Author

Edward Nawotka

A widely published critic and essayist, Edward Nawotka serves as a speaker, educator and consultant for institutions and businesses involved in the global publishing and content industries. He was also editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives since the launch of the publication in 2009 until January 2016.