Vietnam’s publishing industry puts quality firstThe publishing industry in Vietnam has caught up with the development of its counterparts in the world as Vietnamese publishers put quality - the bedrock on which all businesses should be built - first. However, the revenue from the publishing industry is not proportional to that. Even, in some years, the number of titles published in Vietnam is higher than that of some countries in the Asia region.
on Nov 08, 2021
Two days after Mr. Joe Biden officially took office as the 46th President of the United States, the Ho Chi Minh City General Publishing House immediately announced the successful purchase of the copyright to the book Joe Biden – Une Histoire Américaine.
A short time later, this publication was released to Vietnamese readers with the title Joe Biden – From Scranton to the White House. At this time, in addition to the General Publishing House of Ho Chi Minh City, many publications related to President Joe Biden were also hunted by domestic publishers to introduce to readers. This shows that Vietnamese publishing houses have been sensible of domestic readers’ interests.
Additionally, domestic publishing houses are willing to participate in major book fairs in the world such as Frankfurt Book Fair, Bologna Children’s Book Fair, Beijing Book Fair, Seoul Book Fair… Even, many publishers have competed with each other on price as long as they own the copyright.
Publishing houses are willing to spend much money for the copyright of foreign books and domestic books; hence, more new book titles in the country are published in the country in a year than that in some countries in the region. According to the Department of Publication, Printing and Distribution, in 2020 there are 36,218 licensed titles for publication; or nearly 100 titles are averagely published in Vietnam every day. However, the industry’s revenue is not as high as expected.
Specifically, in 2017, Vietnam published 30,000 book titles in the country with a population of 90 million inhabitants earning the revenue of US$180 million while Malaysia with 34.5 million inhabitants earned $300 million for publishing 17,000 books and Thailand with 65 million residents had the revenue of $650 million for publishing 14,000 books.
Le Hoang, Vice Chairman of Vietnam Publishing Association, said that Vietnam’s publishing industry is having wrong investment. According to him, from 2014-2019, the number of books published each year increased by 30 percent (from 28,326 to 37,100 titles) but the number of printed copies only increased by 19 percent (from nearly 369 million to 441 million copies) and the number of book editions for sale also increased only 16 percent (from 378 million to 440 million copies). In his opinion, a publishing company has to spend 60 percent-70 percent on topic exploitation, translation, editing, design, cover making but they have neglected market exploitation and market exploration.
While the publishing industry is gradually recovering after the pandemic, leaders in the industry should work on how to reconcile revenue and expenditure to revive the publishing market. In the seminar “Exchange of experiences and orientations for sustainable development in the field of publishing, printing, and distribution in the context of Covid-19 epidemic” recently held in Hanoi, Deputy Minister of Information and Communications Pham Anh Tuan emphasized that readers are the market of the book industry. Thereby, the sector must have a solution to create a thriving reading culture in the country so that more and more people read books to promote the publishing economy.
Dong A Culture Company tries not to keep books in stock. Especially, Dong A is being recognized as a leader in making limited edition books. The company lets readers pre-order books. Thanks to that, almost any limited edition of Dong A was quickly sold out.
Mr. Hoang said that publishing houses need to pay attention to more radical and long-term solutions to improve Vietnamese readers’ reading capacity and find ways to exploit the market. From his own experience and observations, Mr. Le Hoang said book-makers should sell readers what readers want. Moreover, he advised publishers to spend time meeting readers to learn their demands and exploit the market.
Source – sggpnews