SEOUL, May 4 (Korea Bizwire) – South Korean civic group Writers is teaming up with KT Linkus, an affiliate of telecom provider KT, in giving a new role to old telephone booths near Gyeongbokgung station in Seoul’s Jongno District, by transforming them into mini studios in which audiobooks will be recorded for visually impaired people, with plans to open within the month of May.
Since construction began in March, light blue-colored telephone booths have been painted yellow and covered with the message “We all have a right to read” in a Korean Ming-style font, giving the booths a fresh new look.
Recording equipment is currently being installed in the telephone booths, which await new life as mini recording studios open to the public.
The latest project from Writers came about after the civic group launched a campaign last October on ‘Together with Kakao’, a crowdfunding platform for social causes.
Writers, whose main goal has been protecting and improving public interests, ended up using old telephone booths after scrapping original plans to build portable recording booths to elicit participation from the public.
With the help of KT Linkus, Writers was able to acquire some of the old telephone booths in Jongno District, which have been redesigned with the new purpose of recording audiobooks through the participation of volunteers.
In the new recording booths, volunteers can record themselves reading writings which can be listened to later by visually impaired people.
Writer’s further plans will see the audio files shared on their website and turned into CDs.
“We joined the project as we saw fit to use telephone booths as a place to provide and participate in a public service. After a trial service, we’ll consider whether or not to expand the number of recording booths,” an official at KT Linkus said.
The global market for audiobooks is growing rapidly, with some estimates putting the total value at $3.5 billion this year. As South Korea enters the early stages of the audiobook market, the collective project by Writers and KT Linkus to help visually impaired readers comes at a timely moment.