The publishing industry is expected to track last year's poor performance with the demand for books unlikely to increase due to tightening consumption policies, experts said at a recent meeting.
|Customers browse through books at a Phuong Nam bookshop. Cash-strapped customers are expected to continue tightening their purse strings this year. |
The seminar was organised by the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) in HCM City with the aim to map out solutions for 2012 and review industry performance last year.
Publishers have been facing higher costs related to power, fuel, paper and printing, the result of which has been increased final product prices. People have spent more on necessary goods and less on books. The industry was expected to continue coping with difficulties, said Nguyen Minh Nhut, director of the Tre (Youth) Publishing House.
To bail out the publishers, MIC's Publishing Department has petitioned the Government to decrease corporate income tax from 25 to 10 per cent and establish a publishing support fund.
Government Decree No 2/2011/ND-CP in fact already ratifies the 10 per cent corporate income tax while a fund for the purpose is currently under consideration.
"The publishing support fund will not be able to deal with all impediments. It won't be the sole solution," said Nguyen Ngoc Hai, deputy director of MIC's Planning and Investment Department.
Experts agreed that an important solution would be the accelerated implementation of e-books.
Nguyen Kim Dung, director of the National Library, said the requirement for e-books was high while resources remained low.
According to the ministry's latest report, the sector earned a total revenue of VND2.69 trillion (US$128 million) last year, a 25.6 per cent decrease against 2010.
"After-tax profits came to only VND53.5 billion in 2011, a year-on-year reduction of 10 per cent. Therefore, the sector merely contributed VND43.5 billion to the State budget, 7.6 per cent lower than a year ago," said Ly Ba Toan, deputy director of MIC's Publishing Department.
According to the report, among 64 publishers, only three made profits higher than VND10 billion, while four hit VND1-4 billion, 32 made VND100 million and the rest experienced loss.