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Vietnamese woman founds online library with nearly 1,000 books

Vietnamese woman founds online library with nearly 1,000 books

Wednesday, September 03, 2014, 18:10 GMT+7

A local book enthusiast has created an online library with a wide range of books, particularly those in foreign languages, to share her passion with like-minded peers and provide them with a handy, affordable book service.

Earlier this year, Le Luu Anh Thu, 30, founded iBookStop.vn, an online library which now boasts almost 1,000 books on management-economics, design and fine arts, and literature.

A number of the titles are written in foreign languages, mostly English, and many are quite hard to come by on the local market.

An avid reader since childhood, Thu spent her free time visiting book stores and libraries across the country and abroad, searching for an appropriate book-sharing model for Vietnam.

Once, she visited the Thailand Creative Design Center at Emporium, a luxury shopping mall and popular hub for entertainment, food, and education in Bangkok.

The young woman was amazed to see Thai families voraciously reading books, despite all the noise and bustling activity around them.

She then came up with the idea to build a similar library in Vietnam so that her own children would one day have an ideal place to play and read books.

Thu then began planning, researching and experimenting, before launching the website earlier this year.

To the surprise of many, she quit her job as a personnel manager, and has freelanced ever since so she can devote more time to her website.

She spent her savings on the website and showcased her treasured book collection to start with.

“Since I was a little girl, I’ve always been intrigued by the piles of dusty books at old book stores. However, as members of today’s tech-savvy world, my peers and I can’t afford the time to peruse the books at book stores. So I launched this ‘online book stop,’” Thu explained.     

To borrow a book from ibookstop.vn, users only need to enter the website and choose a service package.

For example, for a monthly fee of VND29,000 (US$1.40) and a down payment of VND1.5 million ($71) for one year, users can borrow books with a total (cover) price equal to the down payment.

Users will benefit from the online book ordering and home book delivery services, as well as constant assistance and advice in book selection from Thu and her two partners.

Mai Thanh Van, a university graduate in Library and Information Sciences, quit her job to work with Thu.

Van said that she, Thu and another female partner do everything, including searching for, buying, arranging, and delivering books to clients’ homes.

The trio finds searching for books the most challenging task, as a number of clients want books which are no longer published.

To satisfy this demand, Thu and her partners keep in regular contact with old book stores across the country and abroad and make use of online services that supply rare books.

The group is also planning to launch a mini-library, where book lovers can go on the weekend to indulge in rare books, including those ordered from abroad.

“It’s much more convenient and economical to borrow books, compared to buying them. I often feel cheated buying books with nice covers and brilliant prefaces but horrific content,” shared Thanh Vy, a regular client of iBookStop.

Nguyen Thi Ngoc Huyen, an office worker who invariably has her hands full with her workload and young children, also finds the book lending service at iBookStop ideal for finding foreign books on raising kids and household arts.

According to Quang Anh, a local graphic designer, it costs him at least VND500,000 ($24) to buy a foreign-printed book, but only a fifth of this amount to borrow such books.

Apart from running her online library, Thu also holds on a monthly basis offline book exchanges and free screenings of films adapted from books to encourage young people to read.

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