Kim Dong Publishing House on June 17 launched the first e-book library in Vietnam for smartphone and tablet, with the aim of promoting reading, the Nhan Dan (People) online newspaper reported.

The launch was part of activities to mark the 57th anniversary of the establishment of the Kim Dong Publishing House.

The e-book service was set up by the publishing house and Vinapo Online Service Company for mobile devices internationally.

Registered members can access 58 titles of books, stories and magazines in the library. The number is expected to increase to over 400 after a year.

From now to September 5, the e-books will be free to use, after which the members will pay about 40,000 VND (roughly 2 USD) per month.

Each account is allowed access with up to five smartphones at the same time.

The library aims to encourage children to develop the habit of reading and create an opportunity for readers to approach new books.

Earlier this year, the Prime Minister issued a decision to designate April 21 as the Vietnam Book Day to encourage and develop reading in the community, while raising the public’s awareness of the significance of books as not only a source of knowledge but as a way to develop one’s thought and personality.

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism's figures show that the average Vietnamese reads only 0.8 books per year from the library.

These figures reveal that the demand for books among the Vietnamese people was still too low, the ministry claimed.

The observance of the annual Vietnam Book Day is expected to contribute to raising the responsibility of ministries, sectors and social organisations towards the building and promotion of the reading culture in Vietnam.-VNA