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  16/11/2023

Young Bibliophiles Collecting Rare Books at Premium Prices

Young Adults Passionately Seek Out Rare, Expensive Books

These special books, printed on high-quality paper with intricately designed covers, are produced in extremely limited quantities and only once. Despite their high prices, they still attract many young enthusiasts eager to obtain these rare items.


The Lure of Limited Edition Books

Người trẻ mê săn sách hiếm, tiền triệu cũng sẵn sàng chi - Ảnh 1.

Phạm Hải Vân with the special edition of “The Story of Art” in a box – Photo: Provided by NVCC

The subjects of these books vary, and though not cheap, many young people are willing to pay not just for the love of collecting but also to own a work of special value in both content and presentation.

Spending several million, even tens of millions of Vietnamese dong, requires a love for books and recognizing their value. Due to the high cost, some buyers hesitate to unbox their purchases, displaying them instead and buying regular editions for reading.

Mr. NGUYỄN ANH DŨNG (founder of Sbooks)

Worth the Price

Phạm Hải Vân from Thủ Đức City, Ho Chi Minh City, admits she’s not a regular hunter of rare books, but she often buys special editions of her favorite titles, especially those timeless in value like geography, art, or history books.

Spending nearly one million dong on a special boxed edition of “The Story of Art,” complete with postcards of paintings by famous artists, she is satisfied with the vast knowledge gained and the in-depth content and presentation that enhance the reader’s value.

Having read the e-book version, Vân found holding the special edition with its beautiful color printing and box a vastly different experience, especially as an art book, justifying the cost.

She also owns “Art and Artisans of the Hue Capital Region.” Vân plans to return to Nguyễn Văn Bình Book Street to purchase a large, illustrated world culture dictionary priced at about six million dong!

Special editions require careful preservation. Vân finds handling these heavy books during shelf cleaning challenging, even fearing they might come apart when flipped through.

“Even though they’re not in the tens of millions yet, I have to be more careful. If they were more expensive, I’d find better preservation methods, like a glass cabinet,” Vân adds.

Meanwhile, Trần Đức Hoàng Thông from District 8, Ho Chi Minh City, frequently participates in communities for collectors of limited edition and rare books. In 2017, Thông acquired a Russian literary work published in 1988 by the Soviet Union’s Rainbow Publishing House, featuring a leather cover and high-quality paper.

Additionally, Thông collects non-commercial books published in small quantities for specific purposes, including author-signed copies or out-of-print titles.

For him, every collecting hobby requires time, effort, and finances. However, it becomes fascinating when surrounded by friends sharing the same interests.

“Apart from knowledge, limited edition or special books also reflect each person’s individuality. These are editions published once and uniquely owned, with no second copy,” Thông explains.

Người trẻ mê săn sách hiếm, tiền triệu cũng sẵn sàng chi - Ảnh 3.


Trần Đức Hoàng Thông often participates in communities for collectors of limited edition and rare books – Photo: Provided by NVCC

A Passion Shared by Many Youngsters

Ms. Phạm Thủy, director of external communications at Thái Hà Books, notes that special or limited edition books have been around for a while, with the special edition of “”The Tale of Kieu”” being an example.

However, it’s only in the past five years that this market has truly flourished, with major publishers introducing limited editions of their signature titles to enthusiastic reception.

Initially, the target audience for these books was older, but surprisingly, 50% of buyers are from the 8X and 9X generations. The appeal of limited edition books includes inherent value or reader acceptance.

With limited print runs, some as few as 5-10 copies and up to 300-500, the urgency to purchase them quickly also contributes to their popularity.

The cost of these books is largely determined by the manual production process, especially if unique paper materials are used.

Mr. Nguyễn Anh Dũng, founder of Sbooks, believes that the emergence of special, limited edition, and rare books adds color to reading culture, becoming a part of many families’ “”home culture.””

Some families are replacing liquor cabinets and display cases with bookshelves, and these special editions become highlights, enhancing the “”treasure”” of home libraries.

Cautious Preservation, Diminishing the Joy of Reading

Not everyone agrees with spending millions on books. T.L., a young person from the 9X generation, feels these special editions are simply “”books with more elaborate craftsmanship, sold at much higher prices,”” often featuring leather covers, embossing, and hand-stitching.

He shares a story about a friend who had to queue and struggle to purchase a book limited to only 100 copies, priced at around one million dong. He questions the significance of owning something unique and special when many places are now competing to publish special or limited editions.

“These types of books are later sold or transferred by speculators, diminishing their spiritual value. I love revisiting my favorite books, but the need to handle limited edition books with such care detracts from the pleasure of reading,” he expresses.

(Source: Tuổi Trẻ)

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