POWELL'S BOOKS: FIRST U.S. COMMERCIAL EXPORTS TO VIETNAM DEPART FROM PORT OF PORTLAND; $50,000 ORDER INCLUDES COLLEGE TEXTBOOKS
POWELL'S BOOKS: FIRST U.S. COMMERCIAL EXPORTS TO VIETNAM DEPART
FROM PORT OF PORTLAND; $50,000 ORDER INCLUDES COLLEGE TEXTBOOKS
PORTLAND, Ore., June 30 /PRNewswire/ -- The Vietnam War may be two decades behind us, but it has taken until now for a U.S. company to export the first commercial products to the one-time undeclared enemy, Powell's Books said today.
The products are neither food nor clothing, neither technology nor materiel. They are books, containing the knowledge needed to continue rebuilding a nation once pockmarked by bombs and napalm.
Powell's Books, considered by many to be the largest bookstore in the country, recently struck a deal with Vietnam's Ministry of Culture and the nation's government-run book supplier to provide English- language books. And the U.S. Treasury Department gave it the nod.
The initial shipment will leave the Port of Portland July 12 and will include large quantities of textbooks, with such titles as "Computerized Business," "Micro Economics," "Management Information System," and "Computer and Application Software."
In all, the shipment will include more than 200 books on business, computers, medicine -- even books on how to speak English. Also included are more than 10,000 Reader's Digest Condensed Books, paperback fiction and nonfiction books, and magazines. The shipment is destined for a bookstore in Ho Chi Minh City, once known as Saigon.
"The U.S. went into Vietnam with force, now we're going in with ideas," insisted Mike Powell, the 50-year-old owner of Powell's Books, whose flagship store covers a full city block in Portland's Northwest neighborhood and houses nearly a million copies of 550,000 titles. "The challenge for us as booksellers is how to make the best of American publishing available so that in a country like Vietnam people can select what's useful to them," explained Powell.
The book deal became possible after the United States liberalized trade restrictions with Vietnam in early May and permitted sales and services meeting "basic human needs," including agricultural supplies, food and medicine, which were restricted by the trade embargo imposed following the Vietnam War in 1975. The shipment will arrive in Ho Chi Minh City later in July.
The transaction, coordinated by the IBIS Group, an Oregon-based information and consulting firm, is one that has been fairly quick in its initiation and implementation. IBIS partner Floyd Holcom, during trips to Vietnam in October 1991 and April of this year, was able to meet with ministerial-level officials to lay the groundwork for the transaction.
Powell's, whose export department began exporting English-language books to Philippine libraries and universities in 1986, is also developing markets for English-language books in Asia and Eastern Europe. The Powell's "network" includes a technical bookstore, stores devoted to cooking and travel, a suburban branch and outlets in Chicago. Roughly half of the 2 million volumes that Powell's sells annually are used books. Powell's was established in 1971.
/CONTACT: Jack Rubinger of KVO, 503-645-1551, for Powell's Books; or Michael Powell of Powell's Books, 503-228-0540/ CO: Powell's Books Inc.; IBIS Group ST: Oregon IN: REA SU:
LM-SC -- SE008 -- 5286 06/30/92 15:37 EDT