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​Ho Chi Minh City to open second book street in 2018 

Sunday, December 31, 2017, 16:03 GMT+7

Ho Chi Minh City’s second book street, to be located in District 7, is expected to become another cultural rendezvous for urbanites and promote the reading culture.

The municipal People’s Committee has ratified a project to build the city’s second book street on Nguyen Dong Chi Street in Tan Phu Ward.

The venue, named after Nguyen Dong Chi, a revered folk culture researcher, is expected to open in 2018.

The municipal administration has tasked the District 7 People’s Committee with implementing the project using funds contributed by the private sector.

Investment in the street, which will boast 20 richly-decorated stalls and a coffee shop, is estimated at nearly VND14 billion (US$ 614,731).

Representatives of the Vietnam Publishers Association’s Ho Chi Minh City office revealed the city was planning to set up a book street in each of its districts in a bid to promote the reading culture.

According to a survey recently conducted by the Ho Chi Minh City Book Street Management, over 58 percent of the 450 respondents said they went to the book street to buy printed publications, while 36 percent of them affirmed they were drawn to the venue to read books.     

The poll also found sightseeing and sipping drinks as purposes among nearly 50 percent and 19 percent of the respondents.

The survey findings confirmed the necessity of launching a book street in densely populated areas, which is also in line with current trends.

The future rendezvous will adopt the same model as that of Nguyen Van Binh Book Street in downtown areas, which opened in January 2016 to the delight of avid readers and publishers.

Lined with old trees providing lush foliage, Nguyen Van Binh Book Street spans 144m and 8m in length and width, and boasts sidewalks which are 6m wide.

Apart from 19 book stalls, other highlights are an exhibition space and a book café, situated next to the Saigon Central Post Office, one of Ho Chi Minh City's icons, which is a perfect place for visitors to skim their newly-bought books and sip their coffee while delighting in the beauty of the heart of the southern metropolis.  

The street has emerged as a favorite hang-out for local residents, voracious young readers and expats on weekends.

Alongside Nguyen Van Binh and Nguyen Dong Chi Book Streets, city authorities have also planned to launch three other book streets in other districts, with the third venue likely to be located in District 5.  

Speaking at The Sofa, a monthly book-themed discussion group held on Nguyen Van Binh Book Street  in December 2016, Le Hoang, deputy chairman of the Vietnam Publishers Association, said while more books have been printed in Vietnam over the years, it remains an issue that few Vietnamese are fond of reading.

Hoang said textbooks and school reference books accounted for as many as 80 percent of the books available on the market.

“The reading rate amongst Vietnamese is only one book per person per year if we exclude these two types of books,” he said.

The Vietnamese only spend $2 a year on books, compared to $10 by the Chinese and upwards of $200 for those in developed countries, Hoang added.

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