Thailand's publishing industry is expected to grow by 7% to 24.2 billion baht this year, driven by improving economic growth and an increase in book readers upcountry.
Worapan Lokitsataporn, president of the Publishers and Booksellers Association of Thailand, said the number of book titles in Thailand could top 22,000.
"2013 will be the highest growth year for the Thai book industry, compared with less than 5% in recent years, which were affected by the severe flood crisis and the government's One Tablet Per Child project," he said.
Mr Worapan said e-books will not have any major impact on the book market over the next five years, as a standard format for digital books and a revenue-sharing platform remain unclear.
E-books account for less than 0.01% of the overall book industry.
"The figure will not be more than 5% over the next five years," said Mr Worapan, adding that up to 19.6 million people do not read books.
Association director Sukchai Wijaithammarit said the launch of third-generation (3G) mobile broadband services and the proliferation of smartphones and mobile devices look set to increase the number of e-book readers, who are mostly aged 12-20.
But he said changing lifestyles present a bigger challenge to the book industry than e-books.
Mr Sukchai suggested publishers use social networks, especially Facebook, as a marketing tool to extend their reach to teenagers.
Books for teenagers will be a key growth area, particularly novels and fantasy, inspiration and how-to books.
Mr Worapan, meanwhile, believes the arrival of the Asean Economic Community in 2016 will provide a big opportunity.
The government needs to support the book industry by promoting Bangkok as an Asean hub for copyright trading for publishers, he said. Thailand could also become a book translation centre.
About the author
- Writer: Suchit Leesa-nguansuk
Position: Senior Reporter