Book publishing

Image - Book cover designs by Vasyl H. Krychevsky.

Book publishing (книговидавництво; knyhovydavnytstvo). Books in manuscript form appeared in Ukraine with the coming of Christianity in the second half of the 10th century (see Christianization of Ukraine). These were translated liturgical books, lives of saints, and the writings of the fathers of the church. By the end of the 11th century original books appeared in Kyivan Rus’. They were artistically transcribed in the monasteries, principally in Kyiv. After the invention of printing, its use was developed in Ukraine in the second half of the 16th century. This greatly increased book production, although the industry still required manual labor, making large printings impossible for several centuries. Only at the beginning of the 19th century, when the manual press was replaced by the printing machine, did book printing become an important branch of industry (see Printing industry).

End of the 18th to the beginning of the 20th century. The first book in the modern Ukrainian languageIvan Kotliarevsky’s Eneïda (Aeneid)—was printed in Saint Petersburg in 1798, and the first Ukrainian publication printed in Ukraine—Petro Hulak-Artemovsky’s Solopii ta Khivriia (Solopii and Khivriia)—appeared in Kharkiv in 1819. By 1847 the works of Hryhorii Kvitka-Osnovianenko, Mykola Kostomarov, Kotliarevsky, Amvrosii Metlynsky, and others (about 100 works in all) had been published in Kharkiv. From then on, however, the tsarist government imposed various restrictions and bans on Ukrainian publications. As a result, the number of books published in Ukrainian hardly increased: it rose from 3 in 1848 to 41 in 1862, and then fell to 5 by 1865 and 1870 as the result of Petr Valuev’s circular. In 1875 the number rose to 30, only to fall again to 2 in 1877 as a result of the Ems Ukase. In 1880 not one Ukrainian-language book was published in Russian-ruled Ukraine.

Given such repressive conditions under Russia, from the 1860s Galicia, and particularly Lviv, became increasingly the center of Ukrainian book publishing. As early as 1875 more books were published in Galicia (62, 42 of them in Lviv) than in Russian-ruled Ukraine. In 1894, 177 books were published in Galicia (136 in Lviv), compared to 30 in eastern and central Ukraine. After the Revolution of 1905 conditions under Russia eased somewhat, and, in 1913, 246 Ukrainian-language books were published. That same year 326 books appeared in Galicia (238 in Lviv). Thus, until the outbreak of the First World War, Galicia led Ukraine in the production of Ukrainian books. In Bukovyna books from Galicia were read, although in the 1870s local publishers began to produce general educational literature and belles lettres in Ukrainian. By 1918 about 270 titles had been published in Bukovyna. In Transcarpathia publishing in Ukrainian developed later. Four books were published there in 1875, 3 in 1894, and 22 in 1913.

During this period most of the books published in Russian-ruled Ukraine consisted of belles lettres and popular books ‘for the people.’ Most scholarly books were published in Galicia.

During the period of Ukraine’s struggle for independence (1917–20) the production of books increased rapidly. In central and eastern Ukraine 747 books were published in Ukrainian in 1917, and 1,084 in 1918, but only 665 in 1919 because of the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian White Army (see Anton Denikin) and Red Army.

1920–45. A completely new period in the history of Ukrainian book publishing began with the Soviet occupation of Ukraine and particularly in 1921, when the economy, including the book market, stabilized. By the mid-1920s all private publishing houses were finally eliminated, and all book production became concentrated in state publishing houses, mainly in the State Publishing House of Ukraine and the Knyhospilka Ukrainian co-operative publishing union. Not only belles lettres but also books in every branch of science and technology were published on a large scale. A disproportionately high number of publications were devoted to political propaganda. The growth in book production in the Ukrainian SSR (excluding the Crimea and Western Ukraine) is presented in table 1. It is evident from these figures that during the years of Ukrainization the general production of books increased and the proportion of books in Ukrainian also increased, so that in 1930 it reached almost 80 percent. But with the official campaign against Ukrainian culture and with increasing Russification the production of books and the proportion of Ukrainian-language books began to decline from 1932, accompanied by a corresponding increase in Russian book production. The proportion of Ukrainian books produced in the Soviet Union was considerably lower than the proportion of the Ukrainian population in the USSR (16.5 percent): 9.3 percent in 1928, 11.7 percent in 1931, and only 4.3 percent in 1939.

During this period, and particularly in the late 1920s, valuable publications of the classics of Ukrainian literature appeared. Many works of contemporary writers, which were later to a large extent proscribed, and literary translations were published. The All-Ukrainian Academy of Sciences produced many valuable scholarly publications. The production of scientific and technical books grew rapidly, but from the 1930s they were increasingly published in Russian. Books in Ukrainian studies became prevailingly tendentious and permeated with Russian chauvinism.

In Galicia the production of books in the interwar period outstripped that of the prewar period (362 titles in 1913) only at the end of the 1920s—195 titles appeared in 1924, 321 in 1927, 450 in 1928, and 391 in 1929. In 1930–8 the average annual production was 366 titles. In 1938 it reached 476 titles, that is, 22 percent of Soviet Ukraine’s production of Ukrainian-language books. A number of valuable books in history, in particular the history of the struggle for independence (1917–20), and in geography were published in Galicia. The first encyclopedia in Ukraine—Ukraïns'ka zahal'na entsyklopediia (The Ukrainian General Encyclopedia)—appeared there, as did many publications that could not be published or were prohibited in Soviet Ukraine.

In Bukovyna after the First World War Romanian censorship caused the production of Ukrainian-language books to decline rapidly. In 1921–8 only 39 titles were published. In Transcarpathia, which was under Czechoslovak control, conditions were much more liberal, and over 1,000 Ukrainian titles (including books in so-called Carpatho-Ruthenian) were published between the two world wars.

The Second World War practically wiped out the production base and the market for Ukrainian books, particularly on the territory of the Ukrainian SSR, where during the German occupation almost nothing except for occasional local publications was published. Only the Ukrainske Vydavnytstvo (Cracow) publishers in Cracow, which later had a branch in Lviv, published Ukrainian textbooks as well as popular and scholarly books.

Soviet Ukraine after 1945. After the Second World War it took 16 years for book production in Ukraine to reach the 1940 level of 4,836 titles. While in 1945 only 1,028 titles appeared, in 1978 the number of books and pamphlets published was 8,259. In general, the number of pamphlets (publications having between 5 and 48 pages) published in the Soviet Union was high; this played a major role in the Soviet statistics. In the years 1966–75, for example, pamphlets constituted 45 percent of all publications printed in Ukraine. Furthermore, a large portion of the Soviet publications were not for sale.

In 1978 only 2,288 books and pamphlets or 27 percent of all publications printed in Ukraine were in Ukrainian, while publications in Russian numbered 5,636 titles or 68 percent. In addition, 19 titles appeared in the other languages of the USSR, and 316 in the languages of countries outside the Soviet Union. Only 5 titles were published in Ukrainian in the USSR outside Ukraine. While 2,293 Ukrainian titles in a press run of 101,190,300, including 328 translations from 34 languages, were published, 66,623 Russian titles in a press run of 1,459,721,400, including 2,288 translations from 91 languages, appeared in the USSR in 1978. There appeared 54,182 titles in a press run of 1,406,227,400 (14,752,741,200 printed folios) in the Russian SFSR and 8,259 titles in a press run of 157,946,300 (1,499,003,200 printed folios) in the Ukrainian SSR in 1978. This indicates that in the Russian SFSR 10.26 books were printed per capita, while the ratio in the Ukrainian SSR was only 3.18. Considering only books in Ukrainian, the ratio was 2.04 books per person. In the Russian SFSR each book contained an average of 14.6 printed folios; in the Ukrainian SSR it had only 13.

In addition to 3,115 pamphlets, 5,144 book titles appeared in Ukraine in 1978. Table 2 shows the distribution of these titles by subject and by the type of publication.

Less than half of the publications (4,066 titles, 142,259,000 copies) were published by the 23 publishing houses located in Kyiv (16) and in 7 other cities, subordinated, with the exception of 2 publishing houses, directly or indirectly to the State Publishing Committee of the Ukrainian SSR.

The number of books and pamphlets published by oblast in 1978 was as follows: Kyiv oblast—5,884, Kharkiv oblast—838, Lviv oblast—275, Donetsk oblast—259, Odesa oblast—207, Dnipropetrovsk oblast—173, Crimea oblast—160, Luhansk oblast and Transcarpathia oblast—98 each, Mykolaiv oblast—69, Kirovohrad oblast—51, Chernivtsi oblast—32, Zhytomyr oblast—18, Zaporizhia oblast—15, Sumy oblast and Volhynia oblast—14 each, Cherkasy oblast and Ternopil oblast—11 each, Poltava oblast—10, Ivano-Frankivsk oblast—9, Chernihiv oblast—6, Rivne oblast—5, Khmelnytskyi oblast and Kherson oblast—1 each. Not one publication appeared in Vinnytsia oblast.

In the period 1946–75, 190,693 books and pamphlets were published in Ukraine, 18,046 of which were translations. Publications in Ukrainian amounted to 83,319 titles, including 13,030 translations from 94 languages. Scholarly works numbered 26,430 titles, 9,332 of which were in Ukrainian, 16,413 in Russian, and 685 in other languages. There were 20,278 titles in literature, distributed as follows: Ukrainian literature—11,625 titles, Russian literature—5,585, other literatures—3,068 titles. In 1918–78 there appeared in the Soviet Union 160,426 works (press run of 9,571,304,200) of Russian literature and only 23,973 works (press run of 842,502,100) of Ukrainian literature.

It is difficult to analyze precisely the entire production of books in the Ukrainian SSR. It is evident from the number of titles in each subject for 1978, however, that the number of political and socioeconomic books (23.3 percent of all titles that year) was disproportionately large. These publications consisted mostly of propaganda—the materials of Communist Party congresses, Party and government resolutions, antireligious propaganda brochures, etc—and were usually published in Ukrainian. The more valuable books in the natural and mathematical sciences, economics, medicine, etc, were usually published in Russian. The classics of Ukrainian literature, though they appeared in large press runs, were almost never published in their entirety and rarely contained objective commentaries, annotations, and full bibliographies. The works of some important writers were still proscribed (for example, Panteleimon Kulish). As for the works of contemporary Soviet writers, of which many titles appeared in large press runs, their artistic level was usually low and to a large extent could be regarded as ideological propaganda. Their only value lied in the fact that they sustained the daily use of the Ukrainian language. Very few translations of Western writers were published; most of the translations were of old, well-known classics. Of the contemporary Western writers, mostly Communist writers were translated. Books in Ukrainian studies (literature studies, Ukrainian language, history of Ukraine, etc) were usually tendentious, with a Russian chauvinistic bias.

Outside Ukraine. Before 1914 Ukrainian-language books did appear outside Ukraine but only sporadically—in Saint Petersburg, Vienna, Geneva, New York, Philadelphia, Jersey City, Winnipeg, etc. During the First World War Vienna became an important Ukrainian publishing center, but Ukrainian books were also published in Geneva and in the prisoner of war camps in Germany (Rastatt, Salzwedel, Wetzlar). After the war Ukrainian books were published in the main Ukrainian émigré centers—Berlin, Leipzig, Prague, Warsaw, Poděbrady, Paris, and Harbin. Books were also published by non-political immigrants in the United States and the Bačka region in Serbia. During the Second World War Cracow, Prague, and Berlin were the centers of Ukrainian publishing and produced over 500 titles in 1939–41.

After the Second World War Ukrainian books were published briefly in the new émigré centers in Germany and Austria and to a lesser extent in France, Belgium, Switzerland, and Italy. According to I. Luczkiw, 2,104 Ukrainian books, including 96 in foreign languages, were published in Western Europe in 1945–50: 577 of them dealt with sociopolitical subjects, 557 were literary works or literary studies, 295 were religious books, 172 dealt with history or geography, 135 were devoted to science or applied science, and 98 to linguistics. When most of the Ukrainian refugees emigrated from Europe, the United States (New York, Philadelphia, Chicago), Canada (Toronto, Winnipeg, Yorkton, Edmonton), Argentina (Buenos Aires), and to a lesser extent Brazil (Prudentópolis and Curitiba) and Australia became the centers of Ukrainian book publishing. But Ukrainian publishing firms continued to operate in Europe (Munich, Neu-Ulm, Paris, London, and Rome). Small Ukrainian publishing centers have been established in Ruski Krstur in Yugoslavia, Warsaw, and Prešov in Slovakia.

Sale and distribution. The first popularizers of books were the publishers and printers themselves. The monasteries and brotherhood schools played an important role in distributing books. Beginning in the 17th century, the Lviv Dormition Brotherhood printed (see Lviv Dormition Brotherhood Press) and disseminated religious books throughout Ukraine and in the Christian countries of the Slavic East. In the 18th century this function in eastern Ukraine was taken over by the printing press and bookshop of the Kyivan Cave Monastery (see Kyivan Cave Monastery Press). Private printing shops and bookstores began operation. In 1779–80 Fedir Tumansky, a publisher and statistician, planned to open a central academic bookstore in Hlukhiv.

In the 19th century Odesa became an important book center in Ukraine. In 1846 Odesa had 6 bookstores, but they sold non-Ukrainian books. The journal Osnova (Saint Petersburg) distributed the few Ukrainian books that were published, employing student salesmen to sell books at fairs and festivals. The first bookstores in Kyiv to sell Ukrainian books were established in the 1870s by M. Levchenko and Luka Ilnytsky. At the time there were about 20 bookstores in Kyiv. In 1884 a well-run Ukrainian bookstore was set up by the Kievskaia Starina publishing house (associated with the journal Kievskaia starina). Some bookstores in Odesa and Chernihiv specialized in Ukrainian books. Musical literature was distributed by L. Idzikowski’s publishing firm and bookstore in Kyiv.

A number of Ukrainian bookstores in Russian-ruled Ukraine were run after the Revolution of 1905 by private individuals, associations, and publishers. The largest among them was the bookstore of Literaturno-naukovyi vistnyk in Kyiv, which also distributed Galician publications. In Galicia book-distribution networks were organized by the Stauropegion Institute (formerly the Lviv Dormition Brotherhood), the Prosvita society, and the Shevchenko Scientific Society in Lviv. Small Ukrainian bookstores operated in the provincial towns of Galicia.

In 1920 the Soviet regime nationalized all privately owned bookstores but permitted co-operative bookstores to operate side by side with the state distributing firms. The distribution systems of the State Publishing House of Ukraine and of the Knyhospilka union in Kharkiv encompassed about 6,000 bookstores throughout Soviet Ukraine. The Sel-Knyha joint-stock society also distributed books. This network was replaced by an exclusively state system in 1930.

The Ukrainian Book Center (Ukrknyhotsentr) had a monopoly on book distribution and was subordinated to the Council of People's Commissars of the Ukrainian SSR. The name of the agency was changed to the Ukrainian Book Trade (Ukrknyhotorhivlia) in 1934 and to the Ukrainian Book and Cultural Trade (Ukrknyhokulttorh) in 1938. In 1949 the Ministry of Culture was put in charge of the book distribution conducted by the Ukrknyhokulttorh. In 1956 the Ukoopspilka association of consumer societies was made responsible for the sale of books in raion centers. The all-Union publishers send their publications directly to Ukrainian bookstores or else run their own bookstores (Soiuzpechat, Voenkniga, etc). In 1956 there were 1,097 bookstores and 2,785 bookstands in the Ukrainian SSR. Village libraries received books from the raion distribution centers. Ukrainian books were exported abroad by the Ukrainian Book Trade (Ukrknyhtorh) through International Book (Mezhdunarodnaia Kniga) in Moscow. Ukrainian Book (Ukrainska Knyha) stores in Canada sold Soviet Ukrainian publications in co-operation with International Book. The Society of Bibliophiles of the Ukrainian SSR, which was part of an all-Union association, worked without commercial motives to popularize books in Ukraine.

In 1920–39 book sales in Western Ukraine were handled not only by publishers and the bookstores of the Shevchenko Scientific Society, the Prosvita societies, and the Ridna Shkola society in Lviv, and their branches in the counties, but also by private bookstores. Some publishers set up an effective network of booksellers. Several Ukrainian bookstores operated in Transcarpathia and in the larger émigré centers—Prague, Berlin, Vienna, and Paris.

The large immigrant population in North America established Ukrainian bookstores under church, institutional, or private control. One of the first was the Ukrainian Bookstore in Edmonton, which was founded in 1914. Publishers take care of their own distribution, but usually on a small scale. Almost every large Ukrainian immigrant center has at least one store; in 1980 there were about 80.

Bibliology. The Ukrainian Scientific Institute of Bibliology in Kyiv (1922–36, director Yurii Mezhenko) was one of the few research institutions that studied the production of books in Soviet Ukraine. Later bibliological research was conducted at the institutes of culture and the Ukrainian Polygraphic Institute in Lviv. The Book Chamber of the Ukrainian SSR was responsible for registering and preserving books from 1922. In 1972 the Museum of the Book and Book Printing of Ukraine was established in one of the buildings of the Kyivan Cave Monastery to preserve rare books and incunabula. Information about new books published in Soviet Ukraine appeared in the weekly Druh chytacha and the catalog Novi vydannia URSR..

(See also Bibliography, Libraries, and Publishers and publishing.)

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Mezhenko, Iu. ‘Knyzhkova produktsiia na Ukraïni v 1917–1921 rr.,’ ZhR, 1927, nos 10–11, 12
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Romanenchuk, B. ‘Knyzhkova produktsiia v Halychyni za 1937 r.,’ Ukraïns’ka knyha (Lviv), 1938, no. 5
———. ‘Knyzhkova produktsiia v Halychyni za 1938 r.,’ Ukraïns’ka knyha (Lviv), 1939, no. 1
———. Bibliohrafiia ukraïns'koï knyhy v Velykonimechchyni za chas viiny (Lviv–Cracow 1942)
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Molodchykov, O., ‘Ukraïns'ka radians'ka knyha (1917–1964 rr.),’ in Knyha i drukarstvo na Ukraïni (Kyiv 1965)
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Romanenchuk, B. Bibliohrafiia vydan' ukraïns'koï emigratsiinoï literatury, 1945–1970 (Philadelphia 1974)
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Bohdan Kravtsiv, Andrew Turchyn

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 1 (1984).]

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