Over recent years, the development of technology has changed the reading habits of many people significantly. This fact happens in many countries around the world, including Vietnam. Statistics show that only 21% of Vietnamese read books in a year and the rate of 1.4 books per person per year is very worrying.

Developing a reading culture is identified as one of the key tasks of the publishing industry in particular and society in general. The need to read books always exists in social life. However, in each period, the trends of enjoying reading culture are also different.

Previously, the market only existed for paper books, but now modern readers have been accessing many types of publications that are diverse in form and rich in content. In that context, the powerful digital transformation is considered the solution for the existence and development of all fields, including publishing.

After more than two years of facing the COVID-19 epidemic, digital transformation has quickly become a vital requirement, and at the same time created an important “kick” to open a new era for publishing activities. Some publishers with sharp thinking quickly caught up with the changes in the market, and boldly invested in the development of technology infrastructure and human resource training.

In 2021 alone, due to the application of new technology, the whole publishing industry has released 2,300 electronic publications, an increase of 12% compared to 2020. Compared to the number of paper books, this number is not high, but it shows an effort to innovate and develop a reading culture.

A variety of publications as well as models and methods of publication have been created. Typically, it can be mentioned in the birth and development of electronic publications such as audiobooks, e-books, interactive books, and virtual reality books.

One bright spot of the electronic publishing market is the strong resurgence of audiobooks with impressive growth. For example, Voiz FM – an audiobook application of WeWe Technology Joint Stock Company, was just launched at the end of 2019 but has now recorded more than 1 million downloads, with about 100,000 active users per month. With many utilities, audiobooks have become the optimal choice for many modern readers.

Along with electronic publications, thanks to digital technology, more and more other types of publications are born, meeting the diverse needs of a wide range of readers. Especially, summary books, mini books, open-ended books, slideshow books, and audiobooks are special interactive books for children. These books have aroused curiosity, and imagination stimulated discovery thinking and gradually formed a love of books for children.

The initial results achieved from the application of technology and digital transformation are also proof that digital transformation is an inherent need of the publishing industry and needs to be implemented early and drastically.

However, in the four stages of the digital transformation process, the publishing industry has only now implemented the first stage, which is gradually digitizing data.

The deployment of applications, platforms as well as the application of platforms to the publishing process, from management to editing, to publishing, to market development, to communication has been initially implemented but the speed is relatively slow, and not effective as expected. The application of artificial intelligence in process activities is still limited.

Accordingly, the two most important issues that need to be focused on are raising awareness and improving the quality of human resources of the publishing industry in response to the requirements of digital transformation.

At the same time, to turn digital transformation into an opportunity to develop a reading culture, each publisher needs to develop an appropriate orientation and strategy to both keep pace with the needs of the market mechanisms and use digital technology platforms in the best way.

On the part of state management agencies, it is necessary to strengthen strict handling of piracy acts in the field of publishing in the digital environment and actively promote and build the habit of accessing digital knowledge to readers. The synchronous coordination between stakeholders will help the culture of reading to be maintained and become an indispensable need in the spiritual life of the community, building an important foundation to promote the development and progress of the country.