Online book festival proves practical during epidemic

As March rolls around, many book distributors turned to online platforms to promote new releases as people fear the 11th annual Ho Chi Minh City Book Festival might be canceled due to the Covid-19 epidemic.

The prominent book distributor Tiki held their own online event
The prominent book distributor Tiki held their own online event

Generous discounts of up to 50 percent are being offered by Phuong Nam Bookstore to website visitors during the whole month of March.

Tiki is also holding an online book event in collaboration with many publishers like Nha Nam and Alphabooks.

More notably, some publishers such as Dong A Publishing and Thai Ha Books even hold livestreams to introduce new titles and let readers interact with authors, which have earned them hundreds of orders within several hours.

Pham Minh Thuan, a coordinator for HCMC Book Festival commented: “Online book events have always been a thing, but they are obviously more heavily promoted this year, which is a good alternative for the physical event”.

He also expressed his concern that the book festival might not be held at all this year due to the complicating virus situation and unpredictable weather.

Besides the positive experience the HCMC Book Festival had brought readers after 10 years of running, there are increasingly glaring issues that need to be addressed, said HCMC Branch Director of Kim Dong Publishing House Cao Xuan Son.

“There is a clear lack of informative events at the festival, coupled with the fact that it’s turning more and more into a place for selling books instead of exchanging knowledge”, he lamented.

Mr. Son also added that more and more readers are gravitating towards online platforms to view and order books, so this traditional festival needs drastic innovation to attract people. It should also show the city’s clear vision in promoting reading culture and the book industry in general.

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