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Seeking books that help change a nation's destiny

“Each book has its own mission and impact on an individual audience. When they are combined, the book creates power that can change the whole nation,” the CEO of a book house told VietNamNet.

Changing the mindset and orientation of each individual is the obvious value that the book can bring. However, the mission of the book can be higher - to contribute to changing the destiny of an entire nation. Which book meets this criterion? 

The "bedside-pillow" book

Đi tìm cuốn sách giúp thay đổi vận mệnh dân tộc-1

Mr. Nguyen Manh Hung - CEO of Thai Ha Books.


Mr. Nguyen Manh Hung, CEO of Thai Ha Books, said the book that changed his life was “Think and grow rich – The 13 principles”. 

This classic book by Napoleon Hill shows the resources needed to be successful not only physically and financially but also in every aspect of life, based on personal success dynamics and positive outlook. 

"I believe and know that if anyone reads then ponders and applies these 13 principles correctly and go all through 13 steps, they will surely be successful and happy," he said. 

Each book has a mission and an impact on a particular subject, Hung said. When combined, it will create the power to change an entire team, an entire country. 

Mr. Nguyen Anh Vu, Director of the Literature Publishing House, said there are three types of books Vietnamese readers are interested in. The first is entertaining book segment that includes literary books and purely entertainment-related books. The second segment is books about life skills. The third is books on information technology, digital transformation, which help people to change perceptions of the era. 

Each segment will meet the unique needs of the reader. And to publish books that reach millions of readers is the dream of publishers.

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Mrs. Nguyen Kim Thoa - CEO of Tan Viet Bookstore.


Can we find and dream of a “bedside-pillow” book for the Vietnamese, which can help them change their lives?

Mrs. Nguyen Kim Thoa, CEO of Tan Viet Bookstore, who has been working in the publishing industry for more than 15 years, said that the books such as "How to Win Friends and Influence People", “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living”, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens” are those that should be "bedside books".

For Vietnamese authors, except for children's author Nguyen Nhat Anh, Thoa has not seen a book that can reach 1 million copies. Such a book is a story for the future, Thoa said. Publishers have always aspired to have such a book.

Mr. Nguyen Van Tuan, Director of 1980 Books, said that the Covid-19 pandemic that broke out in 2020 has changed people a lot, from habits to perceptions of each individual. Therefore, the 2021 reading trend is very different. Readers love to learn, read more about health, skills and psychology. Young people pay much attention to skills books such as remote work and job management.

“For each nation in each period, in a certain time, there may be books that change that nation’s destiny. For Japan, the Meiji reform period was the book 'Let’s Read', for the US it seems to have been 'How to Win Friends and Influence People'. Even in Vietnam, there were periods of times with such books by local authors such as Nguyen Huy Thiep in the opening and reform period, or Dang Thuy Tram's Diary,” Mr. Nguyen Canh Binh, CEO of Alphabooks, said.

Vietnamese read average of 5 books a year

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According to statistics of the Department of Publishing, Printing and Publishing of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, on average, Vietnamese read one book per year. Vietnam is not on the list of 61 countries with a high number of readers in the world, while three Southeast Asian countries - Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia - are in this group. In these three countries, reading has become a formal, well-invested training program.

However, book publishers said that these statistics did not reflect the actual situation because it did not include the large number of fake books bought by readers. According to Mr. Nguyen Van Phuoc, CEO of First News – Tri Viet, each Vietnamese reads about five books a year.

Nguyen Anh Vu, director of the Literature Publishing House, said that the reading rate among young people has increased, but reading has not yet become a movement. Those who already have a passion for reading, especially readers who are doing work related to books, read books.

Mr. Nguyen Van Tuan, Director of 1980 Books, said that Vietnamese have not had the habit of reading books since childhood. So, it is very difficult to form new habits as they grow up.

“We can learn from other countries to encourage children to read more in class or organize exchanges at the school library or competitions on favorite book presentation. These activities can improve children's reading habits,” Tuan said.

Recently, the Publishing Association proposed that the Ministry of Education and Training adds reading lessons to official curriculums. This is considered an effective way to form the habit of reading in schools. Of course, it is also essential for parents to give children time during a day to read.

Mr. Nguyen Manh Hung - CEO Thai Ha Books - said the reading culture in Vietnam is not common. It is good for his firm to sell books that hit over 100,000 copies. Hung said: “I think, as long as each Vietnamese reads 5 books per year, there will surely be books of a million copies in Vietnam.”

“I think, when we have books that exceed 1 million copies sold, it will create a big boost for the country's reading culture. However, building a city takes 10 years, but to build a culture or a person takes hundreds of years."

Mr. Nguyen Van Phuoc - Director of First News - Tri Viet has an optimistic view about the improving reading culture of Vietnamese people.

“The book in the top 3 best-selling books of our firm is 'Many Lives – Many Times', which set a record of 9 reprints after 3 weeks of release. The book 'Life and Teaching of The Master of the Far East' has so far sold 15 million copies since its release. Then we can believe and expect a book that can reach 1 million readers in the near future. Why not?” Phuoc said.

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