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When will Vietnam earn money from int’l book festivals?   2009-03-13 - VietNamNet/ANTD

Vietnamese books annually take part in several international book festivals, such as the Beijing Book Festival in China, the Moscow Book Festival in Russia, the Frankfurt Book Festival in Germany and the Havana Book Festival in Cuba.


Vietnam's stall at the Havana Book Fair in Cuba.


The areas of the stalls for Vietnamese books have increased from several square metres to tens of square metres. This means that the path on which Vietnamese books are moving out to the world is widening.


The door opens


In 2005, the Vietnamese delegation at the Beijing Book Festival gathered representatives of several publishing houses. At that time, Vietnamese publishers saw the festival as an opportunity to purchase foreign book copyrights.


In 2007, for the first time Vietnam was named in the catalogue of the Frankfurt Book Festival. 2007 was also the first year Vietnam applied the scheme to participate in international book festivals in the 2007-2010 period.


With a 24sq.m stall and various book titles, Vietnam’s stall attracted many foreigners and overseas Vietnamese, who saw a new image of a renovated and developing Vietnam. One year later, also at this festival, Vietnam had a 30sq.m stand.


The Frankfurt Book Festival sees the participation of nearly 7,500 publishing houses from over 100 countries and territories. Getting positive signals from this festival, more Vietnamese publishing houses have sent representatives to this event.


In late February 2009, more than 400 Vietnamese books were displayed at the Havana Book International, the largest such event in Latin America. Foreign readers were very interested in many books like the Dai Viet Su Ky Toan Thu (Complete history record of Great Viet)) and the photo book of the Thang Long Royal Citadel. However, these books have not been translated into Spanish yet.


What is the next step?


Nguyen Xuan Thanh from the Publishing Agency under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism said big publishers often attend international book fairs to seek interesting foreign books to translate into Vietnamese. Due to limited funds, each publishing house hires very small stalls of up to 4sq.m to display some book titles. Some publishers entrust their books to overseas Vietnamese to introduce at fairs.


The number of Vietnamese book titles presented at international book fairs is small. Most of the books are about famous Vietnamese, Vietnamese history, law, customs and habits.


At international fairs, Vietnamese publishers have bought copyrights of famous foreign books to translate into Vietnamese but haven't been able to sell books to foreign partners.


The benefits from international fairs are advertising a new Vietnam to the world and purchasing copyrights of foreign books to publish in Vietnam. But when will publishers be able to earn money from these fairs?

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