Lam Dinh Thang, director of the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Information and Communications, has proposed the information ministry to prepare the southern metropolis’ bid for the title of UNESCO World Book Capital City (WBC) in 2025.
Thang made the proposal during a conference held by the Authority of Publication, Printing, and Distribution under the Ministry of Information and Communications in Ho Chi Minh City on Friday, hailing the city as an ‘exemplary model’ for the development of a reading culture nationwide.
The title of WBC has been held each year since 2001 by a town or city committed to acting to create a culture of reading.
It can provide an important impetus to experiment and innovate in the ways that literacy and reading are promoted, as well as to invest in key infrastructure, not least libraries.
Madrid in Spain was named the first WBC city in 2001 and the 2023 holder is Accra of Ghana, while Strasbourg in France is the city last recognized as the 2024 WBC.
UNESCO has launched the call for cities interested in holding the title in 2025, with applications due to be submitted no later than April 16.
|Delegates attend a conference held by the Authority of Publication, Printing, and Distribution under the Ministry of Information and Communications in Ho Chi Minh City on February 17, 2023. Photo: Tran Mac / Tuoi Tre|
Ho Chi Minh City is home to Nguyen Van Binh Street, Vietnam’s first book street, which was opened in January 2016.
The book street welcomed nearly 600,000 visitors and book buyers during the recent spring festival from January 19 to 26, earning a revenue of over VND6 billion (US$251,900) from more than 41,000 books sold.
Reporting on the publishing performance in 2022 at Friday’s conference, Nguyen Nguyen, director of the Authority of Publication, Printing, and Distribution, said that the total industry revenue approached VND4 trillion ($168 million) in the year, contributing VND415 billion ($17.4 million) to the state budget and gaining an after-tax profit of VND429.5 billion ($18 million).
Among all publishing houses, five achieved over VND100 billion ($4.2 million) in revenue.
On average, 6.02 books were published per capita, the highest rate ever.
However, 3.04 of those 6.02 books were textbooks.