Hanoi Book Fair draws crowds of visitors (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) –Numerous efforts have been made to encourage reading habit among young Vietnamese people, especially in the digital era when more entertainment forms are available and reading enjoyment declines.

Being a mother of a three-year-old daughter in Hanoi, Tran Thuy Hang spends most of her free time reading books for her kid rather than let her play with a smartphone. Hang also takes her little girl to every book fair held in the capital city so that she can play with books, choose favourite books and gradually develop her love for reading.
 
“I let my daughter play with books when she was six months old. Now at her age of three, she has her own shelf full of books,” Hang said.

Hang takes her little girl to every book fair in Hanoi (Photo: VNA)

According to Hang, domestic publishers are doing great to make more young people and children frequent readers. They offer books of various subjects and designs with good contents.

“Books for children are so diversified and attractive, particularly 3D books. They are full of pictures, colours and surprises,” Hang said.
 
Hang is among young Vietnamese people who have motivated their kids to read more books rather than let them play with computers or smartphones for fun. Their efforts have contributed to improving reading culture in the country after a shocking statistics released in 2013 showed that each Vietnamese person reads less than a book per year on average. 

Books of various subjects and designs are offered to attract readers (Photo: VNA)

Over recent years, concerted efforts have been made nationwide to revive reading culture. Book fairs and festivals have been organised annually on international, national and local scales. As the result, reading enjoyment has increased strongly among people of all ages.

Trinh The Duy, a student of Hanoi Foreign Language University has the habit to read books every night before bed. He finds reading very important for a language student like him. Reading is sometimes a way of reducing stresses.

Domestic publishers have been making a great contribution to making more children frequent readers by offering more interesting and eye-catching paper books.
 
Technology also helps bring books closer to readers with more free e-books, reading machines and software. 
 
Bibox is the first reading tool ever introduced in Vietnam, using e-ink screen, which is safer for readers than LCD screen (Photo: VNA)

Nguyen Manh Hung, chairman of the Thai Ha Book Co., is very positive about reading culture in Vietnam. Hung said: “We have seen the greatest efforts made over the past years to make young people and children discover the power and joy of reading and the highest number of readers ever.”

Hung elaborated that more books had been published and sold and more talks about books had been held.

According to Hung, reading is among the most sustainable ways to gain knowledge of the history and future technologies.

“You watch TV or read newspapers, you only get information. But if you want to get knowledge, you have to read books. There is no alteration,” Hung said.

Dr Nguyen Manh Hung (R) and Tha Tun Oo, president of the Myanmar Publishing Association (L), at the panel discussion (Photo: VNA)

Encouraging reading is among key priorities in many ASEAN countries, including Malaysia whose capital city of Kuala Lumpur has been named as the World Book Capital by UNESCO, Tha Tun Oo, president of the Myanmar Publishing Association told a panel discussion about ASEAN reading culture as part of the ongoing Hanoi Book Festival.

In Indonesia, children are required to read at least 15 minutes before classes at school. The Indonesian Government funds numerous national book fairs to encourage the public to read and gives discount vouchers to students so they can buy books at cheaper prices, he said.

“We can see reading enjoyment is increasing very fast in Vietnam, particularly in Hanoi,” said Tha Tun Oo, who is also the former Chairman of the ASEAN Book Publishers Association.

He expressed his hope that Hanoi, as the historical and cultural capital of Vietnam, will become the regional book capital in the future.-VNA