Commenting on the development of reading culture in recent years, Head of the Department of Publishing, Printing and Distribution and Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Publishing Association Nguyen Nguyen said that despite many difficulties, the publishing industry has gained remarkable victories in recent years.
From 2020 to 2022, the publishing industry face general difficulties such as epidemics and economic recession. However, statistics from 2022 showed that the number of publications reached six books per capita, a level not achieved for past 20 years, Nguyen added.
Hanoi Book Fair 2022 attracts many readers.
It is not difficult to realise that reading movements have deepened and expanded, reaching more readers. In response to the Book and Reading Culture Day 2023, activities to promote, introduce and promote reading culture were no longer conducted in a few large cities but have spread to almost all provinces and cities as well as many agencies and schools.
Direct and online book fairs and book-stimulation programmes have attracted a large number of young readers. According to observations, today students not only choose literary books as much as before but are more interested in other genres including non-fiction, history books, knowledge, life skills and travel books. These kinds of books contribute to improving reading culture, increasing knowledge for young readers, and stimulating creativity in book-makers.
Joys with books
In terms of international integration, the publishing industry has achieved certain successes. According to Nguyen Nguyen, as the rotating Chairman of the ASEAN Publishing Association, Vietnam has still maintained good relations with the Publishers’ Association in Southeast Asia. In the past year, Vietnam represented Southeast Asia in activities and forums held in Asia – Pacific. “We have also participated in many initiatives including the joint organisation of many activities in the region such as Book Copyright Festival between Vietnam and Japan – the Republic of Korea, book festivals with Thai Embassy, a book festival in Singapore and working with publishers in China and Myanmar”, he added.
Hanoi Book Street, a favourite cultural destination for many young readers.
One of the bright spots in publishing activities is Nguyen Van Binh book street in Ho Chi Minh City. Nguyen said: “When we invited ASEAN delegations to visit and study, they all expressed their desire to study the model of Nguyen Van Binh book street. Even countries with a very developed publishing industry such as Thailand and Singapore appreciated the efforts of the Vietnamese publishing industry”.
Book street models such as Nguyen Van Binh Book Street have been studied and applied by many localities in the country, contributing to realising the goal of promoting reading culture in the community, expanding opportunities to access books and knowledge to more readers.
However, 2023 is determined to still be a year of many difficulties due to the cumulative challenges of 2021 and 2022. The number of publications is still slow, although bookmakers continue to actively stimulate demand. Books still face extremely fierce competition from other modern and more convenient entertainment means. Not to mention the cost of input materials of paper books have been constantly increasing, affecting output prices.
Five targets set by publishing sector for the next tenure:
- Developing reading culture
- Developing a healthy publishing industry
- Improving the quality of the Association’s activities
- Strengthening foreign affairs
- Supporting development in publishing and digital transformation
Therefore, the Congress of Vietnam Publishing Association, taking place in Hanoi on July 12, is an opportunity for the Association to continue promoting its role in continuing to develop a stronger reading culture besides promoting digital transformation, building associations, boosting publishing abroad, spreading Vietnamese culture to the world, supporting young authors, and proposing stronger sanctions to protect copyright the legal rights of units and people operating in the publishing industry. Promoting the development of reading culture also contributes to the development of the country.