‘Book city’ to open in Binh Duong mall

The ambitious project will boast the most titles gathered in one bookstore in Vietnam

A woman reads a book inside a bookstore in Ho Chi Minh City.

Local book producer Phuong Nam Corp (PNC) has teased the opening of a ‘book city’ inside a shopping center in Binh Duong, a neighboring province of Ho Chi Minh City..

The company has described their plan as a “dream project” at a conference of book publishers and producers in Ho Chi Minh City on Tuesday.

The book city will reside in what PNC described as a ‘grand and popular shopping mall’ in Binh Duong - its actual location remaining secret.

The description does hint however at the AEON Mall Binh Duong Canary, a 62,000-square-meter retail mecca on Binh Duong Boulevard in Thuan An District, where there is already a Phuong Nam bookstore.

The mall opened in November 2014 and is run by Japanese retail and services group AEON Group, based in Chiba Prefecture just outside Tokyo.

The proposed book city will boast the most titles gathered in one bookstore in Vietnam, PNC said on Tuesday, as well as various other services it says will keep shoppers and readers entertained for a full day.

Last year, PNC opened 13 new bookstores across Vietnam, raising its number of locations to 52 and bringing it closer to main rival Fahasa, the dominant bookstore chain in Vietnam, which has 94 locations nationwide.

On Vietnam’s book industry, PNC said that titles in the young adult genre continue to grow in popularity and make up the majority of the company’s sales.

“Sixty percent of our revenue comes from young adult books, while 40 percent of our best-sellers target young readers,” PNC said at Tuesday’s conference.

At Fahasa, children’s books are their mainstay, comprising up to 25 percent of revenue last year, and sales growth of 18 percent from 2015.

That said, Vietnam’s book industry in general has been on the decline, with the number of copies-per-person dropping in 2016 to 3.6 from 2015’s 4.1, according to statistics from the Vietnam Publishers Association (VPA).

The digital market also saw little improvement last year, VPA pointed out, as out of 64,588 publication registrations in 2016, only 1,893 were published in digital format.

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