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Vietnamese still like printed paper books

Last update: 07:10 | 06/03/2017

VietNamNet Bridge - The revenue of VND4 billion collected from the Book Street Festival in HCMC on 2017 Tet days could be a boost for the publishing industry as it shows that Vietnamese still like reading printed books.


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 Amazon.com, one of the biggest book distribution chains in the US, released a report showing that the number of e-books sold exceeded the number of hardbacks. 

The distributor said for every 100 hardcover books sold, it sold 143 e-books.

In Vietnam, with the increasingly high popularity of internet and smart devices, iPad and Kindle, digitalized books, and e-books have become more popular in the last 10 years. The images of students or office workers reading books and newspapers on smartphones can be seen everywhere.

Many bookstores in Hanoi and HCMC have become deserted. Many of them shut down as sales from books could not cover the retail premises rent and increased labor cost.

The revenue of VND4 billion collected from the Book Street Festival in HCMC on 2017 Tet days could be a boost for the publishing industry as it shows that Vietnamese still like reading printed books.

Experts said that with the development of e-books and the new ‘reading-on-smartphone culture’, the revenue of publishing houses and bookstores is near to zero on holidays, especially Tet. All bookstores and distribution chains closed doors on holidays.

This is in contrast with the situation in the past, when Tet was the golden opportunity for bookstores to boost sales. As Vietnamese had much free time on Tet days, they bought books with family members.

In 2011, the HCMC Information and Communication Department launched ‘Book Street Festival’ on Tet holiday. The event, together with the ‘Flower Street’, was organized to diversify the celebration on the New Lunar Year. No one thought that the event would give any support to the publishing industry.

However, contrary to all predictions, the ‘Book Street Festival’ attracted a large number of visitors, while the demand was unexpectedly higher than book distributors’ estimates.

The success of the book festival in HCMC has prompted other cities and provinces to organize similar events, while it has become a cultural symbol. ‘Book streets’ have been set up in Da Nang, Can Tho and Nha Trang, while Tet holiday has become the high season for publishers.

A report showed that within one week, VND4 billion worth of books were sold at the 2017 Book Street Festival. Analysts commented that the figure still cannot reflect true demand, but it shows great potential for the publishing industry.

Prior to that, the HCMC authorities reported 20 percent growth rate per annum for the publishing industry in the city.


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Mai Thanh

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