Urbanist Hanoi

BackArts & Culture » Literature » Vietnam's First Self-Publishing Platform Launched Online

Vietnam's First Self-Publishing Platform Launched Online

Thanks to new technologies, for the first time budget-strapped Vietnamese authors will be able to quickly self-publish their books.

Under the current model in Vietnam, a writer must wait 30 days after submitting a manuscript for an editor to approve it and then another 60 days for editing, printing and license acquisition. Hanoi-based Alpha Books' new publishing platform iPub will allow users to upload, edit and submit work online and within 72 hours have it reviewed and ready to print.

Uploading will initially be free and then the price will increase with additional services such as “Super Save” service for VND4 million, and VND8 million for the “Easy Publish” package with additional costs for various editing and design options.

At a recent seminar, Alpha Books chairman Nguyen Canh Binh explained that the publishing industry needs to adapt to new technology trends as other sectors such as transportation, tourism and real estate have. Currently, only about 30% of manuscripts submitted to publishers are accepted and he argues that embracing innovations could bring more work to more readers.

Greater ease of publishing might not necessarily be a good thing, however. Nguyen Dinh Tu, a popular author of ten novels who is himself experimenting with different models, explains that the new technology has the potential to upend standard career trajectories for writers as they can become successful outside of traditional awards offered by writers' associations. He cautioned that this means a risk for a drop in the quality of books released due to reduced editorial guidance and oversight.

Additionally, while self-publishing allows for greater creative control, higher royalty rates, and quicker turn-around, the potential to reach a large audience is limited without the distribution network and marketing power of publishing houses.  

Beyond the prospects of self-publishing, readership in Vietnam is changing thanks to technologies that are made for online and e-readers. E-publishing achieved revenues of US$20 million in 2018 in Vietnam and is expected to grow to US$40 million by 2023. The majority of the money came from electronic books as opposed to magazines or newspapers.

This, however, represents a small percentage of the total market: currently, electronic publications reach less than 3% of their target rate with less than three million users in the country. Reflecting this situation, Nguyen Minh Hue, director of Cong Thuong Publishing House, says their resources committed to the new format are "modest."

[Image via Facebook page i.Pub

Related Articles:

Despite Modest Past Sales, Vietnam's E-Book Market Shows Optimistic Growth

- Hanoi Autumn Book Fair Taking Place This Week

Hanoi Book Company Slammed for 'Book Hotpot' Event Which Offers Books by the Kilogram

Related Articles

in Literature

'I Wander Alone' and 'Your Shirt Button' by Nguyen Quang Than

"You told me not to look at you, it’s silly / Yet I want to gnaw you the way I gnaw bread ... the pack of ravenous dogs looked at me with night sea eyes / I wish they could gnaw me piece by piece."

in Literature

'The Song of Kiều' Is the Newest Addition to Penguin Classics Series

Originally written in Nôm script and lục bát (sixth-eighth) verses, Nguyen Du's epic poem Truyện Kiều has always been a quintessential reading for many Vietnamese across generations.

in Literature

3 Vietnamese Authors Honored With Southeast Asian Writers Awards

Nguyen The Quang, Tran Hung and Le Minh Khue were each honored for their work at the Southeast Asian Writers Awards in Bangkok.

in Literature

A Radio Program Puts Vietnamese Poetry in the Limelight With Bilingual Readings

"Lanterns Hanging on the Wind" features 18 poems read in Vietnamese and translated into English that span themes, styles, time periods and locations to give listeners a broad introduction to the natio...

in Literature

Alain de Botton Visits Vietnam: 'What I Want to Argue Is That Romanticism Has Been a Disaster for Love.'

It’s not often that a philosopher of Alain de Botton’s status visits Vietnam, so it was no surprise that all 50 seats on the upper floor of Toong Coworking Space were occupied, with most tickets snapp...

in Literature

Amid Dwindling Readership, Is Digitization the Key to Save Vietnam's Libraries?

Cultivating a reading culture remains a challenging task when local libraries are under-utilized.