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.
Head of Publications Department Nguyen Nguyen said it is necessary to do something so that internet users not only spend time to surf on Facebook and buy goods online but also pay attention to reading culture.
Nestled quietly in the small attic of the old dormitory on Dinh Le Street in Hanoi, Mao Bookstore has become a familiar destination for book lovers in the capital city.