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Humanitarian sciences in Siberia

2015 year, number 1

PROBLEMS OF PUBLICATION AND DISTRIBUTION OF RUSSIAN BOOKS IN PARIS IN THE 1920s - 1930s

E.M. Lbova
The State Public Scientific Technological Library, SB RAS, 630200, Novosibirsk, Voskhod st., 15
kate.lbova@gmail.com
Keywords: русская эмигрантская книга, русское зарубежье, книжное дело, издательская деятельность, типография, книгораспространение, Франция, Париж

Abstract

The paper describes the situation in the Russian book business in France in the 1920s - 1930s. The emphasis is put on the problems faced by the Russian publishers and distributors working in Paris. In the early 1920s Paris was not a leading publishing center for the Russian emigrants. The main reason was that publishing Russian books was more expensive in France, than in other countries of Europe. The high rate of franc had a significant effect on the final price of books and made them inaccessible for most of the Russian emigrants. Although the Russian emigrant book center later moved to Paris, its production was overpriced while the printing quality was low. As a result, at the beginning of 1930s a question arose about what to do with the Russian émigré press. In fact, the situation with publishing Russian books in France had always been dramatic. Book publishing represented big financial risks, both for writers, and for publishers. In addition to high price and poor quality, it was also marked by insufficient publicity and lack of feedback from readers on the published books. As a result books were stocked in warehouses being unclaimed, although the timely reviews could have promoted their sale significantly. Periodicals such as newspapers and magazines were more successful in Paris. However, their editors, authors and owners typically faced the same financial problems. Nevertheless, periodicals were more popular among the Russian emigrants in France. The example of long existing editions showed that an appropriate editorial approach and low prices were the cornerstone of success. The history of Russian publishing activity shows that even under adverse financial conditions it was possible to keep the pre-revolutionary tradition of publishing Russian books and «fat» journals. In the 1930s Paris became an important center of Russian publishing business.