|Phạm Minh Tuấn, Deputy Editor-in-Chief of the Communist Magazine, President of the Việt Nam Publishers Association, and rotating president of the ASEAN Book Publishers Association. — Photo courtesy of VPA|
The Việt Nam Publishers Association (VPA) and the People’s Committee of HCM City will host the annual conference of the Executive Committee of the ASEAN Book Publishers Association (ABPA) and sidelines activities from September 14-19. Deputy Editor-in-Chief of the Communist Magazine, President of the VPA and rotating president of the ASEAN Book Publishers Association, Phạm Minh Tuấn, talks to the media about the event.
In recent years, how has the Việt Nam Publishers Association participated in international cooperation in the field of publishing?
The Việt Nam Publishers Association (VPA) is an organisation focused on the publishing industry's development and the promotion of reading culture. Since its inception, it has actively engaged in international cooperation.
In 2005, the association teamed up with publishing representatives from Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand to establish the Southeast Asian Book Publishers Association (ASEAN Book Publishers Association - ABPA). This association serves as a platform for sharing information, discussing industry policies, and exchanging professional skills within the Southeast Asian publishing community. Despite Việt Nam publishing's unique characteristics, its initiatives within ABPA have been highly valued.
For example, we have been strong advocates for nurturing a reading culture and establishing book streets and book days. In addition to annual book fairs, various regions have organised Book Day and Reading Culture events.
Furthermore, the VPA actively participates in or facilitates member units' involvement in prestigious international book fairs such as those in Frankfurt, London, Moscow, Bologna, and Beijing. We were honoured guests at the 2020 Havana International Book Fair and are set to attend the 2023 Asian Children's Book Fair in Singapore as the focus country.
Even the 2016 Hà Nội Book Fair, themed "Books and Integration," included participation from ABPA and several member countries.
In our quest to learn from major global publishing platforms, in 2017, we collaborated with the Hà Nội Department of Information and Communications and Frankfurt International Book Fair (Germany) leadership to invite experts for a publishing professional training course in Hà Nội.
In 2019, as part of the 6th Hà Nội International Book Fair, we hosted a conference titled "Publishing trends in ASEAN countries." Towards the end of 2021, the VPA assumed the position of Chairman of the Southeast Asian Publishers Association (ABPA) for the 2022-23 term.
In this role, we have actively connected ABPA member countries' publishing associations to find solutions to challenges faced by the publishing industry in the post-COVID era.
In November 2022, we organised a meeting of the Executive Board of the ABPA in Jakarta, Indonesia, offering proposals and initiatives to promote intra-regional cooperation and strengthen the role of ABPA in the region and in the international arena.
In my capacity as the Rotating Chairman of the ABPA, the Việt Nam Publishers Association will collaborate closely with the People's Committee of HCM City to host the Executive Committee Conference of the ABPA, alongside various related activities, scheduled to take place between September 14-16. Overcoming numerous challenges, including those posed by the complex and ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, we assumed the role of Chairman in 2022.
The COVID pandemic had a profound impact on the Vietnamese publishing industry. In the first six months of this year, the industry witnessed a significant reduction in book production, with a staggering 51 per cent decline. What is the current situation in other ASEAN countries?
The adverse effects of the post-COVID-19 era on the publishing industry in Southeast Asian countries have been exceptionally severe. Reports from various national publishing associations presented at the Conference highlight a substantial decrease in both the number of books published and overall revenue, despite the concerted efforts of governments and publishing entities in these nations. These repercussions are expected to persist throughout 2023 and 2024.
Despite facing the double challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic and recent armed conflicts, as well as heightened competition and a global economic slowdown, several countries have managed to achieve notable success in their publishing endeavours. This positive trend is particularly evident in countries such as Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, Cambodia, and Việt Nam.
These nations have expanded their range of activities to promote a culture of reading, including establishing copyright trading centres, increasing their presence at international book fairs, hosting national book awards, and actively encouraging the use of electronic learning materials.
Many Southeast Asian governments have made concerted efforts to enact supportive policies, such as tax exemptions and the creation of conducive ecosystems, recognising them as pivotal elements of a thriving publishing industry.
Publishing units across these countries have taken proactive measures to overcome challenges, especially by emphasising digital transformation, the development of electronic publishing and the application of e-commerce within the industry. This approach has contributed significantly to the modernisation of each country's publishing sector, helping it navigate the challenges posed by the pandemic.
How will VPA leverage its role in ASEAN to elevate the Vietnamese publishing industry on the international stage?
During its tenure, the VPA is advancing three important initiatives. The first is to research and implement the "One ASEAN" initiative, which aims to enhance the exchange and cooperation among publishers in ASEAN countries via ABPA.
Through this initiative, the association seeks to learn from the experiences of other countries, exchange copyrights within the region, and diversify the ASEAN cultural identity.
The ultimate goal is to develop ASEAN into a publishing centre that gradually gains global recognition.
Secondly, the association plans to establish a copyright centre under the ABPA to introduce books published by member associations. This centre will facilitate copyright transactions within the region and share information to promptly address any copyright infringements.
Thirdly, the association intends to establish the ASEAN Book Awards, with judges selected from member publishers of the ABPA.
This award aims to recognise outstanding books in the region. Furthermore, we will continue to prioritise the development of reading culture as a focal point.
Việt Nam will continue to collaborate with publishers from other countries to foster reading culture in the region. This not only promotes the cultural products of each country within the region but also allows us to learn from the experiences of our neighbouring countries.
Developing a reading culture will help evoke in many persons a passion for reading, cultivate reading habits within families, schools, organisations, and contribute to building a learning society.
Việt Nam hosting the annual meeting of the Executive Committee of the ASEAN Book Publishers Association
HCM CITY — Việt Nam this year is hosting annual conference of the Executive Committee of the ASEAN Book Publishers Association (ABPA) in HCM City during September 14-16, to review the activities of the ABPA in the past year and discuss upcoming initiatives.
The gathering will feature reports on the publishing industry from member countries and the activities of various task forces. According to the agenda, 23 executive members from member countries of the ABPA will attend the meeting in-person in HCM City.
The Myanmar Publishers Association will participate via videoconference. Within the framework of the conference, the Việt Nam Publishers Association (VPA) will hold a scientific workshop on "Protecting Books’ Copyright in the Digital Space" with the participation of domestic and international experts.
In addition, the HCM City Book Street, in collaboration with publishers, will host an exhibition of books about President Hồ Chí Minh and Party and State leaders during September 15-16.
The activities held by the VPA during its tenure also aim to contribute to the common goals of ASEAN, particularly with regards to the maintenance and enhancing of peace, security, and stability and further strengthen peace-oriented values in the region as well as boost resilience via amplified cooperation across political-security, economic, and cultural-social pillars.
After nearly two years of serving as the rotating Chair of the ABPA, the VPA has effectively contributed to people-to-people diplomacy and actively enhanced Việt Nam’s position on the international stage. — VNS