Hanoi (VNA) - The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many major book and publishing events to be canceled or postponed, significantly affecting the revenue of publishers, book companies, bookstores, and other agencies.

Turning difficulties into motivation for change

Dr. Tran Doan Lam, Director of the World Publishing House, said the foreign language books cannot be sold due to the lack of international tourists. Added to this, publishing houses’ international cooperation activities were delayed, foreign experts-editors could not come to Vietnam to work directly.

Director General of the Authority of Publication, Printing and Distribution under the Ministry Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Nguyen stressed the strong negative impacts by the COVID-19 pandemic to the publishing industry in 2020. Last year, there were nine publishing houses participating in electronic publishing (accounting for 15% of the total number of publishers) with 2,000 book titles being published.

Publishing industry overcoming difficulties to recover hinh anh 1Director General of the Authority of Publication, Printing and Distribution Nguyen Nguyen speakes at an event in 2020. (Photo: Phan Tuan Anh/VNA)

In addition to the negative impacts, Nguyen said the pandemic also became a driving force for each organisation and individual to innovate their activities and individual behaviour. He asserted that digital transformation is now the solution to those motions. It becomes imperative for the existence and development of all fields, including publishing, Nguyen noted.

Direction for 2021

The development of online book fairs and new online book trading channels is a sustainable development direction and an inevitable trend globally, according to Tran Chi Dat, Director of the Information and Communication Publishing House.

Publishing industry overcoming difficulties to recover hinh anh 2The early 2021 book fair is packed with visitors and shoppers. (Photo: VNA)

Facing difficulties caused by COVID-19, Dat and his associates have sought all measures to solve the difficulties for publishing activities. One of such solutions is to develop an online book market.

The Authority of Publication, Printing and Distribution has set a goal to increase the rate of electronic publishing to 15 percent of the total number of books published annually by 2025, focusing on encouraging and creating conditions for half of publishers to participate in electronic publishing activities.

To achieve those goals, Director General Nguyen affirmed that in 2021 the industry aims to improve the quality of publications, strengthen electronic publishing capacity for publishers; develop software to support editing, publishing, and e-commerce platforms; connect ICT enterprises and publishing units to accelerate the digital transformation process.

Currently, units that are willing to invest in publishing books of high quality in terms of content and form include Nha Nam, Dong A, The World Publishing House, Kim Dong Publishing House...

Nguyen Huu Linh, administrator of the Book News forum and the Book Lovers Association on Facebook, said that in 2020, businesses continuously offered good and beautiful books that satisfied readers.

As a book collector, Nguyen Huu Linh has also noticed that more and more books are being printed in limited quantities with hardcover or leather cover, numbered and stamped to serve the book lovers.

Predicting this year's publishing trend, experts say that readers will be interested in books about health and life skills, in addition to "healing" books (psychology books).

According to Director General Nguyen Nguyen piracy needs to be solved, because this is a barrier that discourages businesses that want to develop electronic publishing.

"Besides supporting businesses and agencies in terms of digital transformation, we need to develop human resources capable of meeting the requirements of the new era, especially in high-tech crime prevention and cyber security," said Director General Nguyen./.