VietNamNet Bridge – Big technology firms and publishing houses, which plan to join the ebook market, have been repeatedly urging state management agencies to declare war with piracy.
When buying a Kindle or Nook ebook reader from the shops in Hanoi, one would receive a “gift” – a CD disk which contains thousands of ebooks.
Of course, the free ebooks are pirate products. But 100 percent of buyers would accept the “gift”. In fact, Vietnamese have got familiar with using intellectual property free of charge.
The widespread piracy has made technology firms and publishing houses hesitant with their plan to conquer the ebook market.
Sharing or infringement?
It’s obvious that piracy remains the biggest problem for service providers.
“If we don’t publish ebooks, our publications still would appear on a lot of websites and forms, from which people can download the publications free of charge, even though with lower quality than the printing versions. But if we publish ebooks, they would be unlocked just 15 minutes after the publishing moments, at with the same high quality,” said Nguyen Xuan Minh from Nha Nam Publication Company.
Ebooks have been shared on forums and websites set up by groups of students, groups of people who like reading books, or groups of people with the same carriers. The members of the forums and website type the content of the books and then post on Internet for sharing with friends.
E-thuvien.com provides hundreds of ebooks. Vnthuquan, which was an online library, now provides ebook format – epub – for readers to read books offline.
In the past, there existed a service provider specializing in providing ebooks in English. Readers could place orders, paid for services and waited for deliveries. The service provider would hunt for the ordered books on Amazon or foreign book sale channels to obtain the English original versions.
At that time, client was charge 50,000 dong for a literature publication and 10 percent of the sale prices for learning manuals. However, the website collapsed just after three or four months of operation.
The websites and forums introduced themselves as the places where people can share their ideas and exchange books. However, in fact, this is an infringement behavior.
An executive of Nha Nam said some years ago, Nha Nam sent letters to some websites, requesting the administrators to remove the ebooks published by Nha Nam from the websites. However, Nha Nam never received reply from them.
It is estimated that nearly 30 percent of its printing books has been published as ebooks as well. However, in fact, 70 percent of Nha Nam’s printing books are illegally posted on Internet for sharing. That explains why the company’s turnover from ebooks remains very modest.
With the appearance of ebook readers and the popularity of social networks, it is now easier than ever to spread pirate books. The box for sharing ebooks now exists on nearly all forums.
Readers need to be aware of copyright
Alezza, Lac Viet or Anybook are the most popular ebook publisher names. The number of official ebook publishers in Vietnam remains modest, just because of the piracy problem.
However, even publishers sometimes also “forget” to pay royalty because they are too busy to provide services. A publishing house said Anybook still has not signed the copyright contract with the house, but it has put books on sale already.
An ebook is sold at 2000-15,000 dong – the surprisingly low levels that analysts believe would not bring the turnover high enough to cover the royalty.
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