Old book collectors preserve and promote books

(VOVWORLD) - Since the advent of mass media, books no longer have a monopoly on entertainment. But there are still people who are quietly passionate about collecting books and newspapers. For many of them, collecting books and newspapers is not just to have something to read. It’s also an entertaining hobby and a way to preserve information.

Old book collectors preserve and promote books  - ảnh 1Trinh Hung Cuong of Bac Ninh city has a collection of 10,000 books.

(Photo: laodong.com.vn

For the past 20 years, Trinh Hung Cuong of Bac Ninh city has traveled across the country buying rare books. Many items in his collection of 8,000 books, newspapers, and magazines are valuable and rare, including a Truong Vinh Ky Dictionary published in 1884 and a Portuguese-Latin Dictionary published in 1877. His many original publications include Nam Phong magazine, Tan Van Women’s newspaper, Gia Dinh newspaper, the first national newspaper in Vietnamese, and hundreds of versions of the Tale of Kieu in Nom (Chinese-transcribed Vietnamese) and the national language scripts.

Cuong says he is a member of the Sachxua.net forum and has displayed his collection at book exhibitions.

“Since I was little I’ve liked reading books and learning about history and culture. It has gradually become part of my life. My friends think I’m a bit odd but I want to preserve the nation’s memories. Today few young people are interested in old books,” Cuong added.

Old book collectors preserve and promote books  - ảnh 2Collector Ta Thu Phong of Hanoi  

Ta Thu Phong of Hanoi collects old books and newspapers because he likes to read and because the books are valuable.

Old book forums and book exhibitions give him a way to share his precious collections and help others appreciate the history of Vietnam.

His home, with its 9,000 books and newspapers, is a resource for students and historians who want to research the national history and culture.

Phong talked about his collection: “My collected books can help researchers and other readers. Young people familiar with today's modern newspapers get emotional when they hold in their hands one of these old publications. I’ve seen such emotion in the eyes of certain young people. I think old publications can encourage them to read more.”

Like other hobbies, collecting books and newspapers can be painstaking work, said Phong. On top of the effort needed to find the books and the effort needed to preserve them, collectors must be constantly learning about authors, each author’s body of work, publishing houses, publication dates, and historical events surrounding each book, all of which affect the value of the collected books.

Old book collectors preserve and promote books  - ảnh 3Part of Phong’s book collection  

According to Phong, “collectors must know how to keep their passion alive. For a true collector, distance and time are no obstacle. If they hear about a precious book that’s about to be sold, they will set off immediately - at any hour of the day or night - to keep the book  from falling into other hands.”

Cultural historian Vu The Long told VOV: “I’m glad to see young people keen on collecting books and newspapers. Old publications hold a lot of information about the time which could be considered cultural artifacts.”    

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