April 15, 2023
Vietnam Book Day has started since 2014 then the Government promoted it to Vietnam Book and Reading Culture Day in 2022, showing the determination to honor national reading culture.
The event seeks to promote the reading movement in the community and raise public awareness of the great significance of reading for knowledge, skills and the development of human personality. This is a real treat for book lovers every year.
In celebration of Vietnam Book and Reading Culture Day, Hoang Thi Phuong Thao, a teacher from Thanh Quan junior high school (Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi), took her students to the National Library for the biggest book festival of the year.
Here they attended the book launch Nhung mien luu dau-Canh Viet trong van chuong (Regions that Leave Their Mark-Vietnam’s Landscape in Literature) by Kim Dong Publishing House.
This art book collects the 35 best excerpts of poems and short stories from high school textbooks about the beauty of Vietnam’s landscape with nice paintings by modern artists.
Thao said the book draws a map of rich and brilliant homeland scenery, inspiring each reader with more love and pride.
“Through this book, my students understand more about the lessons at the school. The paintings take them on a visual journey to the places described in the literary works, such as a mossy rock, under the shade of Con Son Mountain in Nguyen Trai's poems, the spectacular view of the Da River in Nguyen Tuan’s writing,” said Thao.
Every year, she takes students to the book festival at the National Library. She affirmed that this is a very useful activity for the teaching and learning of literature in the school.
For writers, Vietnam Book and Reading Culture Day and related activities are an opportunity to get closer to readers, introduce their works, and exchange with each other.
Poet Lu Mai from Vietnam Writers’ Association often recites poems and interacts with students at the event to inspire them to read more books.
According to poet Lu Mai, each person's passion for reading is influenced by many factors. The background of family, school, and society also plays an important role in fostering the love and passion for reading.
“Compared to previous generations, today’s students have better access to books. They have a library at school and a bookshelf at home. However, how to make young people passionate about reading is a question for parents and teachers. Getting little readers to join activities in the framework of Vietnam Book and Reading Culture Day can be an effective way,” Lu Mai said.
Vietnam Book and Reading Culture Day is celebrated annually, with book fairs held nationwide to promote books and offer discounts to readers.
According to Nguyen Manh Hung, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Thai Ha Books, activities dedicated to Vietnam Book and Reading Culture Day are meaningful and useful to reinforce the development of national reading culture.
“Vietnam Book and Reading Culture Day aims to reaffirm the position, role, and importance of books in improving knowledge and skills, developing thinking, educating and training human personality; promoting and developing the reading movement in the community; nurturing reading habits in families, schools and organizations and contribute to building a learning society,” Hung said.
He added that this is a chance to honor readers, authors, and people working in writing and publishing.
Every year, Thai Ha Books takes this opportunity to give away books to readers in far-flung and remote regions with a lack of bookstores.
“In recent years, we have donated many bookshelves in rural areas to contribute to the reading culture development. We believe that our project will create a huge impact. It's really exciting, and the virality is very high. The happy season of books and reading culture has arrived," said Hung.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution has been coming to life and affecting all industries and fields. Most fields have applied technology, digital transformation, application of artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics. The publishing and printing industry is no exception.
According to Nguyen Nguyen, Director of the Publication, Printing and Distribution Department, the application of technology to comprehensively manage production and business activities at some publishing houses, or the rapid development of e-commerce platforms to buy and sell books online are outstanding examples.
“In the digital age, audiobooks have become a new trend of publishing activities and an indispensable part of reading culture. Along with traditional printed books, audiobooks are gaining more and more popularity in the community, especially in the Covid-19 pandemic when people were confined to their homes while many entertainment venues were closed,” Nguyen said.
Nguyen stressed that e-books are now an irreversible trend. The e-book market in Vietnam has seen strong development in recent years, with more than 15 million users of e-books, equivalent to 35 million copies of books read, an increase of 59% compared to 2021, more than 30% of publishers have participated in electronic publishing, the number of book titles also accounts for over 10% of the total number of publications. However, the development of e-books is only focused on the audio book market.
Nguyen suggested four solutions to develop electronic publishing. The first is raising awareness among publishers and changing their reading habits.
Second, there must be mechanisms and policies to create motivation for e-book publishing in addition to the general policies of the publishing industry.
The other two conditions are human resources and technology.
Xuan Nguyen, CEO of Fonos, one of the first audiobook apps in Vietnam, agreed, stressing that the development trend of audiobooks is inevitable.
“Audiobooks are convenient and make us feel like we're not wasting time. Audiobooks are copyrighted, diverse in genres, and do not affect the reader's eyesight. These advantages confirm that audiobooks are increasingly suitable for modern life,” said Xuan Nguyen.
Regarding the obstacles in the development of audiobooks, Le Hoang Thach, CEO of WeWe Company, said Vietnamese people are not used to paying to listen to books while this type of publication needs a large investment to buy copyrights, hire voice talents, add appropriate background sounds and operate an access platform for audiobooks.
“E-books will always accompany the general development of the publishing industry. E-books and traditional printed books will complement each other and expand the book market in general, not compete with each other,” said Thach.
The development of e-books is an inevitable trend, but the problem of counterfeit books is growing, especially in the context of the current development of social networks.
Those who sell pirated books are quick to grasp the trend and change how they approach readers. Instead of spreading out on the sidewalks or sneaking into bookstores, pirated books are being offered for sale online, with advertising images of real books.
That is what Nguyen Van Phuoc, Director of First News Company, told The Hanoi Times reporters about pirated books. He affirmed that fake and pirated books are spreading on the Internet as fast, strong, and powerful as the dangerous virus that has attacked humanity in the past two years.
“The online sale of counterfeit books is extremely difficult to control. Counterfeiters post pictures of real books, attractive ads, discounts of 50-70% to attract readers, and then send to buyers books full of mistakes and poor printing quality," said Phuoc.
Nguyen Xuan Minh, Planning-Copyright Director of Nha Nam Culture and Communication Company, agreed that pirated books had been painful for book publishers for many years.
“The illegal book trade has not only not subsided, it has exploded, being sold more and more openly on social networking sites and even on major e-commerce platforms,” Minh said.
Many years ago, pirated books only appeared in the form of "printing and selling illegally", but now Nha Nam is still affected by many individuals who blatantly copy and distribute e-books. Minh said that modern technology makes the distribution of pirated e-books even faster and easier than pirated copies.
Faced with this situation, book publishers have actively used many ways to prevent pirated books.
Wanting to make readers aware of the wrongness of buying pirated products, Nha Nam Company has carried out many communication campaigns, especially spreading the message, "Buying and selling fake books is killing real books.”
The company attaches its logo with this message to each book, instructs readers on distinguishing real books from counterfeit ones, and creates the Facebook group "Nha Nam Reading Club" to form a wise community where readers share their experiences in buying authentic books.
Along with communication efforts, the publishers also want the government to impose stricter sanctions to deter individuals and collectives who violate copyright law.
Nguyen Nguyen, the Director of the Publication, Printing and Distribution Department, also admitted that although the prevention and fight against illegal printing has achieved many positive results, the distribution of fake books is still rampant.
“Currently, we are creating many channels to connect directly with the e-commerce platforms to receive reports of fake books as quickly as possible. When we receive information about fake and pirated books, we can close the sellers' accounts like YouTube does,” Nguyen said.
The Publication, Printing and Distribution Department will also step up inspections and check all e-commerce channels involved in book publishing. On the one hand, it can help businesses to do better; on the other hand, it can detect and strictly handle mistakes.
Vietnam Book and Reading Culture Day has become an important cultural event, receiving a great response from bookmakers and readers nationwide. From these activities, more and more people enjoy reading books and consider books as treasures of knowledge.
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