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Online Book Fairs during the COVID-19 Pandemic

The experience of Vietnam

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Abstract

Online book fairs are being held in Vietnam to replace traditional offline events that have been shelved owing to the COVID-19 crisis. This study aims to explore book consumers’ perceptions regarding digital book fairs and their evaluation of the first-ever national online book fair held in Vietnam. In-depth interviews were conducted to obtain insights from people who had attended the online book event. The findings provide acceptance of and support for the organization of digital book fairs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Attendees generally appreciated the convenience of the national online book fair and the promotional programmes offered by various publishers and distributors. Furthermore, some attendees enjoyed the novelty of the event and the feeling of being included in the reading community. Nevertheless, most of the attendees highlighted several limitations, especially the lack of social and face-to-face interaction. These findings have implications for online book fair organizers, publishers, and book distributors alike.

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