Launched in the beginning of 2021 by five Vietnamese woman, Tiem Mot bookstores (worm store) open in different countries, with the aim of bringing Vietnamese books to where there are Vietnamese people and who needs local books as well as preserving the mother language and culture of the fatherland.
Vietnamese bookstores abroad
Tiem Mot was initiated by Quynh Hanh, an overseas Vietnamese woman living in Finland. When she had her first daughter, she wanted her to be born and grow up abroad but still identifies as a Vietnamese who can speak Vietnamese, acknowledge the homeland and love it like her parents.
Having difficulties finding Vietnamese books in her place, she brainstormed the idea to open a Vietnamese bookstore for the same parents who want to help their children access Vietnamese language and culture abroad.
As soon as Tiem Mot was launched, it was welcomed by a lot of overseas Vietnamese. Then some Vietnamese friends of Hanh contacted her to spread the model to their places. Thereby, Tiem Mot bookstores are also available in Sweden, Norway, France, Belgium, Germany and England.
At the beginning, the books at Tiem Mot are mostly those for children and about Vietnam. Later, seeing the diverse demand of students, workers, housewives, among others; more areas are added like business, cooking, skill developing, fiction, best-sellers, etc.
In addition, there are international best-seller books which have been purchased and published in Vietnam, helping Vietnamese people to catch up with international trends without language barrier.
The books are selected with good quality of paper, printing and illustration from prestigious publishers in Vietnam, according to Hanh.
They are delivered from Vietnam every two to three weeks, depending on the demand and order of the readers. There are also books always available at the store for people to come to select or order the delivery service.
“It is very happy when customers say that they can find Vietnamese books in another country and create a habit of reading for their children. Their kids are always excited to listen to stories before sleeping," said Hoang Trang, the manager of Tiem Mot in Germany.
Many times, Tiem Mot makes effort to look for rare books. “When customers receive the books and send me a message to express their joy as they can find them very far from our homeland, I also feel very happy,” she said, before adding that it motivated her a lot to open more bookstores in Europe.
Tiem Mot, which not only brings Vietnamese books to Vietnamese expats and introduces new and best-selling international books, but also opens forums to provide its clients with advice on selecting books for themselves and their children, as well as for readers to discuss and share your experiences with good books.
The forum soon becomes an interesting playground for Vietnamese readers all over the world. Everyone may have a different taste but all come together to share the same love for books.
There are about 1,500 people participating in the forum only two months after it was introduced.
“At first I thought there were many groups introducing the book so I didn’t expect there would be many members joining our forum,” said Thu Mai, the manager of Tiem Mot in France, “then when I read their discussion, I see that we have the same situation of living away from home so that it is easier to understand each other and the community is spread that way.”
Particularly, in the COVID-19 pandemic when many overseas Vietnamese have to live in the tough time of the quarantine, lose job, and are not able to visit family for over a year; books and the forum have become a good activity for them to comfort their mind and get the balance.
Recently, Tiem Mot has launched a book review game of “Reading in the lockdown” to introduce books which help readers relax, cheer up, mediate and balance in the tough time of life.
In addition to the prizes of new best-seller Vietnamese books, the game also has some special prizes that excellent articles will be broadcast on the Viet Happiness Station, a Youtube channel for culture, education and health of overseas Vietnamese.
“I hope that Tiem Mot would bring Vietnamese language and culture to other continents, preserving the beauty of Vietnamese in the heart of every Vietnamese expatriate,” Hanh said, “also, everyone who has dreams and ambition could act to make them come true.”