The publishing industry is expected to track last year's poor performance with the demand for books unlikely to increase due to tightening consumption policies, experts said at a recent meeting.

The seminar was organised by the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) in HCM City with the aim to map out solutions for 2012 and review industry performance last year.

Publishers have been facing higher costs related to power, fuel, paper and printing, the result of which has increased final product prices. People have spent more on necessary goods and less on books. The industry was expected to continue coping with difficulties, said Nguyen Minh Nhut, director of the Tre (Youth) Publishing House.

To bail out the publishers, MIC's Publishing Department has petitioned the Government to decrease corporate income tax from 25 to 10 percent and establish a publishing support fund.

Government Decree No 2/2011/ND-CP in fact already ratifies the 10 percent corporate income tax while a fund for the purpose is currently under consideration.

Experts agreed that an important solution will be the accelerated implementation of e-books.

Nguyen Kim Dung, director of the National Library, said the requirement for e-books was high while resources remained low.

According to the ministry's latest report, the sector earned a total revenue of 2.69 trillion VND (128 million USD) last year, a 25.6 percent decrease against 2010.

"Post-tax profits came to only 53.5 billion VND in 2011, a year-on-year reduction of 10 percent. Therefore, the sector merely contributed 43.5 billion VND to the State budget, 7.6 percent lower than a year ago," said Ly Ba Toan, deputy director of MIC's Publishing Department.

According to the report, among 64 publishers, only three made profits higher than 10 billion VND, while four hit 1-4 billion VND, 32 made 100 million VND and the rest experienced loss.-VNA