Sat. Apr 20th, 2024

VietNamNet Bridge – EDC of the Education Publishing House remains the only company which has joined the e-textbook market with its classbook products, though a lot of enterprises once revealed their ambitious plans to digitalize textbooks.



e-book, electronic textbooks, publishing, education



The market with great potentials

According to the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET), in the 2012-2013 academic year, there were 15.1 million general school students nationwide. About 1 million new students enter the first grade every year.

The figures show the great potentials of the e-textbook market. A lot of enterprises stated they would jump into the publication sector.

In late 2010, MOET and the military telecom group Viettel signed a contract on making investments in equipments to digitalize textbooks and documents for training.

In June 2012, the Vietnam Education Publishing House signed a contract with AIC and VTC Online on the cooperation to publish e-textbooks for different education levels,

Also in 2012, FPT, a well-known technology group, said it was running a series of programs on digitalizing textbooks. It also said it was conducting the negotiations with the units holding the textbooks’ copyright.

The promise by the big guys in the information technology sector to join the e-textbook market made people think that a stiff competition would occur on the market.

However, in late June 2013, EDC, a subsidiary of the Education Publishing House, not any of the above said big guys, launched first e-textbooks in Vietnam after half a year of trial.

High risks for the pioneers

With the retail price of VND4.8 million, e-textbooks are too expensive especially to the students in the remote areas.

According to Nguyen Trung Ha, President of the Thien Viet Securities Company, it is understandable why the first e-books have such a high production cost.

Ha noted that the pioneer always faces high risks and meets financial problems. In the immediate time, as the number of products to be sold is modest, the publisher would have to set up the retail prices at high levels, though even the high prices cannot cover all the expenses. The retail price would go down only when there are more buyers.

Tran Luong Son, Deputy General Director of Vietsoftware, has also warned about the risks the pioneer would face.

“Since the enterprise makes software itself to serve the digitalization, it would bear the high risks. There has been no detailed policy on the matter. However, supposed that the State agrees to the national program on textbook digitalization and invites for bids, no one can say for sure that the pioneer’s products would be chosen,” he said.

Analysts have also said that publishers not only have to anticipate and well prepare to deal with financial risks; they would also have to spend money on the security solutions, if they don’t want their products to be copied illegally.

A senior executive of FPT said that Vietnam still doesn’t have much experience in the works to fight against copyright infringement in the information technology sector, which is one of the reasons behind the information technology firms’ hesitance to join the market.

The Education Publishing House negotiated with some partners to build up e-textbooks before the launching of Classbook products. However, the partners, for some reasons, have not started the production development yet.

Song Nguyen

By vivian