U.S. Books Abroad
Curtis G. Benjamin
Washington: Library of Congress, 1984
Preface By John Y. Cole v
Part 1 Introduction: The Sponsorship, Purpose, Scope,
and Method of the Study 1
Part 2 The Faltering State of U.S. Book Exports 5
Part 3 The Influence of Multinational Publishing 9
Part 4 The Impact of English-Language Publishing in
Continental Europe 15
Part 5 Major U.S. Assistance Programs of the Past 17
Part 6 Current U.S. Assistance Programs 39
Part 7 Assistance Programs of Other Countries 53
Part 8 Deterrents to U.S. Book Exporting 65
Part 9 Whose Responsibility Is It, Anyway? 71
Part 10 The Future: A Suggested Plan 75
Sources of Information 81
Appendix A USIA Book Promotion and Translation
Appendix B The United Nations Roster of "Developing"quot;
Appendix C Export of U.S. Books by Types 88
Appendix D Informational Media Guarantee Program 89
Appendix E Joint Indo-American Textbook Program 90
Appendix F USIA-Sponsored Book Publishing Program,
Appendix G The Asia Foundation-Distribution of Books and
Journals by Countries (1954-1981) 92
Appendix H The Ad Hoc Advisory Committee 93
About the Author 95
Books are a unique medium for transmitting ideas and for encouraging
reflective and long-lasting mutual understanding. As publishing
consultant and retired president of the McGraw-Hill Book
Company Curtis G. Benjamin emphasizes in this study prepared
for the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, books are
keys to cultural development, catalysts to trade, and unparalleled
(but "neglected") ambassadors of American culture. The center is
pleased to make Mr. Benjamin's valuable report available to a
The "Benjamin report"' as it came to be called during discussions,
points out the need for a new international outlook on the
part of the entire U.S. publishing community. A renewed cooperative
approach, which would bring disparate parts of the U.S. book
community together in common cause, would help fulfill the immediate
educational and economic needs of Third World countries.
Such cooperative endeavors will remain equally essential in
the decades ahead as the international publishing environment is
transformed by global telecommunications networks, cooperative
international library agreements, and multinational electronic
What of the book in this new environment? Or, for that matter,
in today's environment, where, as Curtis Benjamin points
out, the perception of America by most Third World countries is
formed by American television, movies, and music-and not by
American books. This serious problem fortunately is receiving
increased attention. For example, in "Selling America in the Marketplace
of Ideas" in the March 20, 1983, issue of the New York
Times Magazine, former ambassador Richard N. Gardner asserts
that our government's comparative neglect of its overseas
book, educational, and cultural programs denies our foreign policy
"one of our greatest sources of strength as a nation."
The role of the book in the future, nationally and internationally,
is a prime concern of the Center for the Book in the Library
of Congress. Established by Act of Congress in 1977, the center
works closely with organizations outside the Library of Congress
to promote reading and to enhance appreciation of the book and
the printed word in the past, present, and future. It is an informal,
voluntary organization, funded primarily by private contri-
butions. As a nonpartisan body with no official connection to the
publishing community and no official government policy role, the
center was the appropriate sponsor for a discussion of a preliminary
version of the Benjamin report on April 11, 1983.
Members of the United States Information Agency (USIA)
Book and Library Advisory Committee were special guests at the
meeting, which took place at the Library of Congress and is described
in the June 6, 1983, issue of the Library of Congress
Information Bulletin. Other participants included members of
the advisory committee for the Benjamin report, representatives
of the International Division of the Association of American Publishers
(AAP), and staff members from the USIA and the Library
Participants urged that the Benjamin report, with minor revisions,
be published. They also discussed the not-for-profit private-sector
organization proposed by Benjamin (Part 10), particularly
the respective roles of the private sector and the government in
promoting U.S. books abroad. Are the interests of the private
sector and the government identical? Different? Compatible?
What is the role of the AAP's International Division? Of the
USIA itself? These questions remain. There was agreement,
however, that the closest cooperation among U.S. publishers, educators,
librarians, members of professional societies, government
officials, and officers of multinational commercial firms is needed
if books are to play their vital role in enlarging an understanding
of American culture.
It should be noted, finally, that U.S. Books Abroad: Neglected
Ambassadors is not a comprehensive document. As the author
points out in the introduction, he has been selective in listing
organizations and in the regions of the world he has covered.
Movement toward forming the "National Coalition on Books
for Developing Countries" proposed in Part 10 of the Benjamin
study has begun. A small group of publishers has met to consider
establishing an organizing committee and conducting a feasibility
study. The Center for the Book is delighted to have served as a
catalyst in this effort. Special thanks go to Leo N. Albert for a
contribution that has made this publication possible.
John Y. Cole
The Center for the Book
Many people in addition to the members of the ad hoc advisory
committee listed in Appendix H were helpful with this study.
Some supplied personal knowledge that had never been recorded.
Others provided guidance to little-known sources of published
information. Still others criticized drafts of parts of the report of
which they had expert knowledge. A few volunteered research
assistance in areas of their specialization. For their help of one
kind or another, the following are hereby and gratefully thanked.
E. E. Booher, former President, McGraw-Hill Book Co. and
former Executive Group Vice President, McGraw-Hill, Inc.; Nak
Young Choung, Vice President and Director, International Division,
Harper & Row, Inc.; J. Adrian Higham, Vice President, John
Wiley & Sons; Riici Inagaki, Managing Director, McGraw-Hill
Kogakusha, Ltd., Tokyo; G. Stanley Kendrick, President, Prentice-Hall
International; John H. Kyle, Director, University of
Texas Press; Peter H. Lengemann, Vice President International,
Scott, Foresman & Co.; Richard H. Lamb, Director, Books for
Asia Program, The Asia Foundation; Rachel M. Mansfield, Vice
President and Editorial Director, McGraw-Hill Ryerson, Ltd., Toronto;
Anne Mathews, Graduate School of Librarianship and Information
Management, University of Denver; Richard D. Moore,
former Director, Office of Cultural Centers and Resources,
United States Information Agency; John B. Putnam, Consultant,
former Executive Director, Association of American University
Presses; Carl T. Sandberg, International Sales Manager, Scholastic,
Inc.; Joel W. Scarborough, Special Assistant for Development
and Public Affairs, The Asia Foundation; Lloyd H. Scheirer, President,
McGraw-Hill Ryerson, Ltd., Ibronto; Datus C. Smith, Jr.,
The Asia Society, former President and Chairman, Franklin Book
Programs; Geoffrey M. Staines, InterEditions Paris, France;
Warren R. Stone, Executive Vice President International, Addison-Wesley
Publishing Co.; Jolanda L. von Hagen, President,
Springer-Verlag, New York; David J. Walsh, former Group Vice
President, Time-Life Books.
The Sponsorship, Purpose, Scope,
and Method of the Study
This study was sponsored by the International
Committee of the Center for the Book at the Library of Congress.
In its planning and execution, liberal assistance was given by
members of the International Division of the Association of
American Publishers and by several staff officers of the United
States Information Agency (USIA). (The latter organization was
known for a short period as the U.S. International Communications
Agency, or USICA.) An ad hoc advisory committee, selected
from the three involved organizations, contributed heavily
to the character, the substance, and the conclusions of the report.
(See Appendix H.) Thus the experience, knowledge, and judgment of
this smaller group are herein expressed as clear consensus
on most matters under consideration.
The purpose of the study is to provide a document that
endeavors to stimulate renewed and wider awareness, first, of the
dire need for U.S. books in less developed countries, and, second,
of possible ways and means by which this need may be met, at
least partially, under present conditions at home and abroad. We
feel that a greater national effort is imperative as matters both of
societal morality and enlightened self-interest. A number of years
ago, Franklin D. Roosevelt aptly said, "Books are bullets in the
battle for men's minds."For decades the British have enunciated
and supported the principle that "trade follows the book." Both
ideas are today as valid as when they were first expressed. Yet
both have been neglected, forgotten almost, in the United States
in recent years. All our major export-assistance programs have
disappeared because each has either fulfilled or failed its mission
or has lost adequate financial support. Probably the most important
cause of this retrogression has been the lack of a national
consensus-or constituency-arguing that greater distribution
overseas of U.S. books and other printed materials is very much
in the national interest. There has been no substantial action by
American leaders either in or out of government, to build a case
for the value of books in promoting mutual understanding among
various nations and their citizens. Americans generally appear
content to leave the field to others, assuming that foreigners will
learn about American society, values, and policies in one way or
another, without any special concerted effort on the part of the
U.S. private sector or the government. The challenge and the
question are these: Can a coalition be mobilized, and if so, how
should this be attempted? Certainly, the foundation for such an
effort has been prepared. For several years a number of knowledgeable
individuals and organizations have been discussing the
issue, and the United States Information Agency recently proclaimed
a new rationale and policy for its Book Program Division
that underscore the importance to the national interest of disseminating
serious American books abroad. (See Appendix A.) This
study takes up the challenge of this new proclamation.
Although the study is largely directed to less developed
countries, it does not deal in equal force with the needs of all such
countries. Several of the countries that are officially classified by
the United Nations as "developing"are not in such dire need of
assistance. Indeed, a few of them are capable of supplying almost
all their book needs. They have the necessary economic resources
and publishing facilities, but they have failed to give books a
proper rating in their scales of national values and financial priorities.
Still others have been severely handicapped by war or civil
strife. For these reasons the study has attempted to discriminate
in a positive way wherever it seemed appropriate to do so. But it
must be understood that no attempt was made to define the
particular condition and need of each country, or even of each
region, that wants and deserves assistance of some kind from the
United States. (For further comment on countries classified as
"developing," see Appendix B.)
Given the limited time and resources available, the
study had to rely largely on inductive methodology. It employed
private as well as published records of past experience, and it
drew broadly upon personal knowledge of present programs and
problems. It synthesized opinions, judgments, and conclusions so
as to represent, as closely as possible, the collective thinking of
the members of the advisory committee. So the results should be
taken more as a "White Paper" than a definitive analytical statement.
Still, the study offers much useful background information
and knowledgeable guidance for anyone who is interested in its
subject. It is hoped that it will help to generate a resurgence of
action by many organizations and individuals, both public and
As the reader will quickly discover, what follows was written
with a wide audience in mind. Hence, it contains much description,
exposition, and explanation that will be commonplace-perhaps
even boring-to specialists in the areas that it addresses.
Accordingly, the specialist is asked to read patiently.
Plainly the advisory committee and its consultant are solely
responsible for the views and opinions expressed herein.
The Faltering State of U.S. Book Exports
Looking superficially at the available information on export sales
of U.S. books, one would conclude, quite naturally, that export
selling has flourished in recent years. The Department of Commerce
(Bureau of the Census) reports that for the six-year period
1975-81 the compound annual rate of growth was 16.6 percent,
and the value in current dollars grew from $263 million to $592
million, or a gain of 125 percent.
Lower export figures, but perhaps more reliable by definition,
are those that have been issued annually by the Book Industry
Study Group (BISG) over a slightly different six-year period,
1974-80. (In these "Book Industry Trends"reports, 1980 is the
latest year for which actual sales figures are given.) Here total
export sales values are given as $292 million for 1974 and $510
million for 1980, a still healthful gain of 75 percent. The annual
rates of increase in this six-year period ranged from 6 to 14 percent.
Looking at either of the foregoing two sets of lush sales figures,
one's first reaction is exultation for the U.S. book industry
and for everyone else who is involved in promoting the distribution
and use of U.S. books abroad. But when one pauses to consider
the deflating effect of price inflation, the sense of elation
turns quickly into dejection. For it is a fact that the prices of the
kinds of books that make up most of our exports were nearly
doubled in either of the periods under consideration. Obviously,
this price inflation canceled almost all the reported current-dollar
gain in export sales. So "stagflation" has patently been with U.S.
book exporters for rather a long time, and there are no signs
pointing to improvement in the near future.
Another somber facet must be added to the gloomy picture:
export sales, though pushed by steadily increasing numbers of
publishers, have trailed domestic sales by a good margin in recent
years. This lag has been a sharp reversal of the earlier trend,
when the growth of export sales in the 1950s and 1960s far outpaced
The whole story of what has happened in recent years can be
read quickly from the following tabulations of sales figures from
the BISG "Trends" report.
In comparing the ratios between dollar sales and unit sales in
the above tabulations, one must keep in mind the fact that U.S.
books of the most exportable types experienced the highest rates
of price inflation. In 1980 professional and reference books and
college texts constituted about 60 percent of the dollar value of all
exports, while general (trade) books (both hardbound and paperbacks)
accounted for approximately 26 percent. In 1974, the proportions
were about 57 and 24 percent respectively. The higher
acceleration of prices of the former types accounts for most of the
difference between the above sets of dollar figures and unit-sales
figures. Anyone who is interested in further details concerning
the types and relative amounts of U.S. books that sell abroad will
find in Appendix C an interesting analysis that is based on BISG
reports on exports for the years 1974 and 1980. For convenience,
the given types classification follows that of the statistical reports
issued annually by the Association of American Publishers
Now, a final depreciatory fact that must be faced squarely: for
all their very high, built-in intrinsic values, book exports are
really very small potatoes in the commodity-value scale of total
U.S. exports. In the past few years, the dollar value of exported
books has ranged from 0.23 to 0.26 percent of the total value of all
U.S. commodity exports. These miniscule figures probably explain
why so few of our leaders in government and industry have
shown real and lasting interest in the national importance of the
book as an export commodity-an importance that is, certainly,
far above its material dollar-trade value.
Although many public figures readily and stoutly attest the
great value of books as the country's best ambassadors abroad,
this enthusiasm usually is eclipsed by larger and more pressing
interests. And, in truth, book publishers, by and large, have
themselves to blame for the low position of their product in the
real scale of national importance. They have failed to convince the
general public of the importance of books in international relations-indeed,
all but a handful of them have made no effort whatsoever to do so.
They have also failed to agree among themselves
on imperative questions of policy relating to government assistance
programs. And too often they have been unwilling to accommodate
themselves pragmatically to the demands and limitations
that are inherent in government-financed support programs. Sad
to say, this lack of a concerted spirit of cooperation, connected
with a lack of understanding of the imperatives of government
operations, appears to be largely responsible for the eventual loss
of most of the government support that book exporting enjoyed in
the middle years of the century. And even sadder to say, exports
to less developed countries have been the hardest hit by the
recent losses of that government support. This is, to be sure, a
crucial matter to our country at the present precarious moment in
international relations. Significantly, other leading nations, both
friendly and unfriendly, have lost no time in their efforts to fill the
book gaps that we have left open to them. More will be said
specifically about this later.
The Influence of
The rise in multinational operations by several large U.S. publishers
has helped to change the pattern and to diminish the level
of U.S. book exporting. This development, though it has grown
steadily over the past twenty years, has been little noted by the
book industry. Perhaps its rise and influence can best be understood
in historical perspective.
Before World War II, only a few U.S. publishers had even
limited interest in export markets. They were, with one or two
exceptions, producers of scientific, technical, and medical books.
Most of them had exclusive arrangements with importing agencies
in the major export markets, namely, Canada, the United
Kingdom, Australia, Japan, and the Philippines. Other foreign
markets, all marginal, were left to the three or four active book-exporting
firms, each of which represented a good number of U.S.
houses. Publishers of general-interest books that had international
attraction usually licensed English-language republication
rights to U.K. publishers, who customarily acquired thereby exclusive
sales rights to all traditional "British Empire" markets-
which meant, in effect, all overseas markets where English-language
books could be promoted and sold profitably. Such
arrangements were fully satisfactory to almost all U.S. trade
book publishers; they were preoccupied with their own large and
fast-growing home market. Moreover, this kind of arrangement
often was quite favorable to the U.S. publisher because it encouraged
the idea of reciprocity whenever a U.K. trading partner
came to other-way licensing of U.S. rights in an attractive new
title. Indeed, the idea of reciprocal trading still dominates the
thinking and planning of many trade book publishers on both
sides of the Atlantic. It partly accounts for the fact that trade
books as a class do not rank higher in the U.S. export scale.
With the advent of World War II, things changed radically.
Neither British nor German publishers could maintain their
strong positions in international markets. Consequently, most of
the world demand for books-and for technical books in particu-
lar-shifted to the United States. Naturally, a good number of our
publishers rushed in to meet this sudden demand, some boldly,
others tentatively. Thus they discovered for the first time how to
exploit export markets directly. In doing so, they discovered, also,
that exporting required specialized knowledge and much extra
effort. They found that marketing and service costs were much
higher, and that risks were far greater. Further, a much higher
ratio of working capital to sales-volume was required to finance
dispersed inventory and longterm receivables. (The latter was
180 days or longer for export accounts, a painful contrast with the
customary 60 days for domestic accounts.) Also, most American
publishers had to learn, often painfully, how to deal with the
"funny-money" currencies of the world. Somehow, a higher profit
margin had to be attained-a problem for which a generally satisfactory
solution has yet to be found.
During the war years and those immediately following, most
of the larger U.S. publishers opened branch offices abroad. They
were located, usually, for sales promotion and distribution services
on a regional pattern. The specialized publishers of scientific,
technical, and medical books again led the way. Their books had
built-in appeal for worldwide recognition of American leadership
in educational methodology and in scientific and industrial development.
Most of these overseas branch offices flourished in size and in
their own resources. With this prosperity came the urge to start
indigenous publishing on their own. It was a temptation that
could not be denied by the more venturesome. So a few U.S. firms
became international publishers as early as thirty or forty years
ago. In time, the idea caught on more widely. By mid-century a
fairly large number of American publishers, observing earlier
successes, had become internationally minded, and their export
sales had increased tenfold over prewar levels.
Then, in the 1960s and the 1970s, came the rapid development
of what was truly "multinational" publishing by the larger U.S.
houses. Many of their foreign branch offices were turned into
subsidiary corporations-some wholly owned, others partly
owned, depending usually on the law of the country of domicile.
Some of these "offshore" corporations became important, even
dominant, publishers for the local area while continuing to serve
as sales outlets for their parent companies. In addition to indigenous
titles, their lists included translated or adapted English-language
editions; and in some instances they also produced paperback
reprints of their parent-company's textbooks and
The multinational pattern of overseas expansion led, inevitably,
to acquisitions of foreign companies, many of which continued
to operate under their own imprints as parts of what were,
organizationally, international "conglomerates."
Through the two kinds of multinational growth processes,
several very large American publishers have become all but denationalized.
Each of them has, in effect, several home markets and
many export markets. In a sense, all their markets are "overseas,"
which means that each of the subsidiaries sells the books of
all their "sister" publishing subsidiaries as well as those of the
parent company. Thus many former importing branch offices have
become in themselves sizable exporting subsidiaries. And thus a
few large firms have created publishing and sales networks that
cover most of the civilized world.
By studying the 1982 edition of Bowker's Literary Market
Place (LMP), one finds that in that year thirty-two U.S. publishers
reported ownership of eighty-two foreign subsidiaries.
Eight firms listed five or more, and three listed ten or more. The
largest of these had fourteen-ten wholly owned, four partly
owned. Indigenous English books were published by six of the
fourteen subsidiaries; the other eight published only in foreign
national languages or regional dialects. Of the other larger
multinational firms, each with from five to ten subsidiaries, most
published indigenous English-language titles only in Canada, the
United Kingdom, or Australia.
As to the location of the eighty-two subsidiary companies, the
most favored countries were, of course, the same three: Canada
with twenty, the United Kingdom with fifteen, and Australia with
eight. These leaders were followed by Japan with six, then by
India, Mexico, and Brazil with four each. New Zealand, France,
and the Philippines had three each.
Given the rapid increase in the number and size of offshore
publishing subsidiaries, accompanied by "incestuous" trading
among them, it was inevitable that much of the supply of books to
foreign markets would shift away from the U.S. parent companies.
For example, the largest of the multinational firms (the one
noted above) reported that in 1981 approximately 61 percent of all
its books sold in foreign markets were published abroad. (In 1974
the proportion had been 55 percent; ten years earlier it probably
was no more than 15 percent.) Another large multinational publisher
stated its 1981 offshore production at 50 percent, while still
others reported from 20 to 30 percent.
Further, with the growth of multinational publishing, many
U.S. firms have reported substantial increases in the "foreign"
portion of their total annual income-"foreign" meaning, in this
case, all offshore sales, properly adjusted for intercompany transfer
of unsold goods. For 1981, several firms reported such sales as
contributing as much as 20 to 30 percent of their total gross
income-this while the book industry average was, as we have
seen, no higher than 7 to 8 percent.
The various regional patterns for organizing multinational
sales and distributive services follow similar lines. The Canadian
company usually serves all provinces, but occasionally there is a
separate subsidiary company for service to French-speaking markets
in the eastern provinces. The U.K. company usually serves
the British Isles and Europe (including the Soviet-bloc countries),
plus Africa and the Middle East. The Mexican company often
serves all of Spanish-speaking Latin America, but in some instances
a second, more centrally located subsidiary serves all
countries south of Panama. Brazil, also, is sometimes served by a
separate company. The Australian company usually serves New
Zealand, and often it serves Southeastern Asian countries as
well. The Japanese company serves all of Eastern Asia, but in
some instances it serves only Korea and Taiwan, leaving Southeast
Asia for a Hong Kong, Singapore, or Manila subsidiary. The
Indian company usually is hard pressed to serve its own large and
complex market, but it often also serves the adjacent smaller
national markets of that subcontinent. The People's Republic of
China has recently given promise of opening a new area market
that could keep book exporters of a dozen nations scrambling for
years to establish favorably located trading beachheads. Indeed,
China seems to be the last regional frontier of international commerce
on planet Earth.
At this point some readers have probably begun to wonder
why they have been given such a long account of the development
of multinational publishing. Just what has all this to do with
exporting U.S. books to less developed countries? The answers to
this question are really quite simple. Yet, as noted at the outset,
they have hardly been noticed, much less explicated, either by
publishers themselves or by outside observers and analysts.
First, the large increase in offshore publishing of English-language
titles has taken a substantial competitive toll of the
direct-export sales of U.S. titles. In thousands of instances, U.S.
books (and textbooks in particular) have been replaced by books
published by U.S. subsidiary companies in Canada, or the U.K.,
or Australia. This preferential replacement has occurred on a
large scale, not only in the home markets of overseas subsidiary
publishing companies but in the markets of other Commonwealth
countries and in those of many former British Empire countries
as well. No one knows, or ever will know, how much this self-competition
factor has diminished U.S. direct-export sales, but
anyone who is familiar with the worldwide picture knows that the
loss is substantial.
Second, a more subtle diminishing force has occurred in the
area of costs and prices. Increased intramural competition has
often caused decreased sales of U.S. books, especially of high-level
textbooks, monographs, and professional treatises. Decreased sales
have caused smaller printings, and smaller printings have resulted
in higher unit costs and prices. High prices
have always been the bane of U.S. books in developing-country
markets, and this deterrent has become increasingly restrictive
in recent years. More will be said later about the omnipresent
problem of high prices generally.
Third, necessary but disliked mark-ups of U.S. list (catalog)
prices by foreign subsidiaries have added to buying resistance in
most overseas markets. Again, this is a subtle, psychological matter.
Somehow, many booksellers and most book-buyers seem to
think that they should pay no more than the U.S. list price for a
book, no matter where the publisher's source of supply is located,
be it New York or London or Tokyo or Singapore. Naturally, they
do not look upon a subsidiary company as being a regional importer-as
a middleman, actually, who must extract a fee for his
services. Yet, as noted at the outset, higher margins are necessary
to cover the higher costs and risks of exporting, and a mark-up seems
to be the only way that this can be done. It is hard to
say just how much this psychological factor has penalized the sale
of U.S. books in less developed countries, but certainly it has cost
a good amount of goodwill, if nothing else.
Fourth, the wide deployment of regional sales and shipping
services has made it impossible for book-industry statisticians or
the U.S. Department of Commerce or any other interested observer
to report anything but a scrambled and misleading geographical
account of U.S. book exports. To illustrate the point:
Company A requires all importers, retailers, and individual buyers
in the Middle East and Africa to order its books from its
London-based subsidiary, but all sales to those two less developed
areas are recorded by the parent company as sales to the U.K., for
that is where the books were shipped originally. The same is true
of orders shipped to other European countries by the U.K. subsidiary.
Obviously, the same kind of situation and result occurs
when Company B's Singapore subsidiary serves all Southeast
Asian countries, or when Company C's Mexican or Panamanian
subsidiary serves all South American countries. Naturally, this
kind of multinational regional distribution induces gross over-statements
of imports by the countries where subsidiaries are
customarily based, and equally gross understatements of purchase
by the countries that are served by the subsidiaries. Some
publishers consider this distortion of export sales statistics to be
a trivial matter. Nevertheless, it does seriously mislead uninformed
observers as to the true market potentials of many countries,
and those of smaller, less developed countries in particular.
Also, the distortion can harmfully misguide efforts to organize
assistance programs for needy countries on an even-handed basis-a matter
that lies at the heart of this study.
The reader who may be inclined to discount what has here
been said about the recently burgeoning impact of multinational
publishing should cogitate the fact that the largest ten of our
multinational firms account for as much as 70 to 80 percent of the
total "foreign" sales of U.S. book publishers. Yes, this new wave is
indeed high and powerful, and it is propitious to much of our
industry. Still, it has had certain subtle erosive effects that are
not altogether welcome.
The Impact of English-Language Publishing
in Continental Europe
Here we should note another significant change in foreign publishing that has helped to depress U.S. book exports in recent years. This is the advent of original publishing in English by many of the larger Continental European publishers, and by those of Germany, of Holland, and of the Scandinavian countries, in particular. Like the rise of the effect of multinational publishing, this practice came gradually as a sea change that has been almost unnoticed by U.S. book publishers generally. Perhaps this is beacuse the practice has arisen almost exclusively among publishers of scientific and technical books-areas of publishing that neither seek nor attract much attention by the news media on either side of the Atlantic.
The practice started in 1964 when Springer Verlag (by far the largest technical publisher in West Germany, possibly the largest in the World) experimented with dual editions of certain high-level titles, the one in German for the "home" market, the other in English for export markets. They soon found that the English edition often outsold the German edition by two of three to one. Later, they discovered that an English edition would sell about as well as the German and English edition combined. Most buyers of their books, it seemed, could read each language with equal ease. (In fact, many university students preferred to buy the English edition-they could at the same time learn the subject matter and perfect their knowledge of English, the lingua franca of their academic world.) Thus, the leading German firm became in time a publisher primarily of English-language books. In 1982, Springer Verlag, GmbH, produced over eight hundred titles, of which 56 percent were published in the English language only, and 6 percent in dual editions.
Of course, other large German technical houses were not slow to catch on. Their progress in doing likewise cannot be exactly measured, because Borsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels E.V. does not publish the relevant statistics. But a knowledgeable observer estimates that the seven leading German technical pub-
lishers currently produce between 800 and 900 English-language
titles per year. Further, this observer estimates that the seven
"biggies" account for about 70 percent of the total annual D.M.
value of West German book exports. Also, that between 70 and 80
percent of their English-language publications are exported.
Concurrently, several Dutch publishers followed suit briskly
and successfully. With very limited markets for their Nederlander
books, some of them were soon into English-language publishing
even more heavily than were the Germans. Their two very
large technical houses, the Elsevier/North Holland Group and the
Kluwer N.V. Group, now publish about 70 percent of their annual
lists in English-language editions only. And our expert European
observer estimates that the two houses alone currently account
for at least 60 percent of Holland's total annual volume of book
Moreover, several Swedish publishers have to be reckoned
with in this matter for they were closely on the heels of the
Germans. The largest two of their technical book publishers, Tannum
and Munskgaard, each now produces a good portion of its
annual list in English-language editions only-about 25 percent
for the former and 40 percent for the latter. And here again most
of the English-language product is exported worldwide.
In summary, it is amply evident that several large publishing
houses in West Germany, Holland, and Sweden have emerged as
important producers of English-language books of high quality
and highly exportable character. When their large output is
added to the smaller outputs of such countries as Norway, Denmark,
Finland, Austria, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, and Switzerland
(plus Japan, Singapore, and India), it can readily be seen that
U.S. book exporters have met with a new kind of formidable
competition. But here again it must be conceded that neither the
force nor the result of this new competition can possibly be measured.
Yet it has been a patently significant factor in diminishing
the dominant position of U.S. books in many developing countries
of the world. And no doubt it had much to do with the fact that
the exported proportion of West Germany's annual book sales
jumped from 13 percent in 1970 to 30 percent in 1972, then to 50
percent in 1982.
Major U.S. Assistance
Programs of the Past
The following descriptions of a few of the larger and more effective
government-aid programs of past years are offered with
three purposes in mind: first, to inform younger members of our
book-interested communities; second, to refresh the memories of
older members about details that may have faded a bit murkily;
and, third, to state or imply the strong and weak characteristics
of each program, so that something of current value may be
learned, perhaps, from hard experiences of the past.
This was a program
whereby producers of U.S. books, magazines, films, musical
recordings, and other informational media were able to sell their
materials in countries that were short of hard-currency foreign
exchange. Local "soft" currencies were accepted, and convertibility
into U.S. dollars was guaranteed, first by the European Recovery Program
of 1948, then by the Mutual Security Acts of 1951
and 1952. The International Information Agency (IIA) in the Department of
State ran the program until 1953, when it was turned
over to the newly created United States Information Agency
(USIA), which managed it for the next sixteen years.
The IMG Program was established solely to help overcome
foreign exchange barriers. Although its implicit relationship to
the government's economic and technical assistance efforts and
its obvious contribution to the stimulation of foreign trade were
important, its basic purpose as stated by the Congress was to
serve as an adjunct to the government's international information
activities. Thus its location in the Department of State was certainly
logical. Had its main purpose been trade stimulation or
technical assistance, it would properly have been located elsewhere,
perhaps in the Department of Commerce.
The legislative language of the Mutual Security Act of 1951
specified that eligible information "media" were deemed to include
books and other materials that "must reflect the best elements of
American life and shall not be such as to bring discredit
upon the United States." Ineligible publications were those that
were patently lewd or salacious, or those that contained "political
propaganda inimical to the best interests of the United States," or
those that were of very specialized or "trivial" interest. Thus,
from the very first year, problems of opinionated selection and
censorship were inherent and persistent. Protests from U.S. producers
and foreign purchaser were increasingly heard. Finally, in
1961, the USIA issued a list of specific materials that qualified for
the program. This list excluded all commercial motion pictures,
plus several other classes of works that had only entertainment
value. Naturally, movie producers and publishers of belle-lettristic
books were resentful of these exclusions, and so were publishers of
works of non-American background. Predictably, the
cries of "censorship" were intensified. The American Book Publishers
Council sent a strong letter of protest to the USIA, but it
was preemptively rejected. To many, this seemed to be strange
indeed for a government that had always strongly embraced the
tenet that responsible criticism is a hallmark of democracy.
Officially, IMG operation began with a bilateral diplomatic
agreement between the U.S. government and that of the participating
country. Based on this arrangement, USIA made guaranties to all
U.S. exporters whose proposals to make sales in the
participating countries had the government's approval.
The guaranties were contracts between USIA and the exporter.
The contracts established the level of USIA's liability to
the exporter, the time limits of the guaranty, the types of materials
covered by the guaranty, and so forth. Thereafter, the exporter
pursued his business with importers in the participating
country in a normal fashion, protected only against the hazard of
accepting blocked currency in payment for sales. Upon receipts of
payment in such currency, the exporter applied to the agency for
conversion and presented his draft for U.S. currency. The agency
then caused the exporter to receive from the Treasury a dollar
check equivalent in value to the nonconvertible foreign currency
proceeds of the sale, and the Treasury deposited the foreign currencies
to an account where they were available for use (in exchange for
appropriated dollars) by the U.S. government in the
participating country. The appropriated dollars received by USIA
in exchange for foreign currencies were deposited in a special
account and were available to underwrite additional guaranties.
IMG eventually operated in this complicated manner in twenty-one countries.
A list of them, together with a time span of operation in each,
and amounts of funds contracted and actually spent
in each, is given in Appendix D.
Technically, IMG was funded by public debt financing as opposed
to annual appropriations. Since the publishers paid a fee of
1½2 percent to participate in the program, and since, as noted, the
purpose of the program was mere currency convertibility, the
program theoretically should have been self-sustaining. The Treasury
Department, however, took substantial losses on subsequent
sales of depreciated foreign currencies and charged the "differences"
to USIA. At the program's termination, the agency had
borrowed from the Treasury (or assumed the indebtedness) of
$31,620,170. It had paid back $9,509,170 (provided by Congress in
appropriated funds), leaving a net borrowing of $22,114,000 still
on the Treasury books.
Payments to the publishers in nineteen years of operation
were $83,325,033. The agency's debt to the Treasury of
$22,114,000, plus the appropriated $9,509,170, indicates that it
cost the taxpayer 38 cents for each dollar the publisher received,
exclusive of administrative expenses from the agency's budget.
This led to charges of "subsidy" by congressional opponents of
the program. Although only normal profits accrued to the publisher,
the fact that the U.S. government incurred "bookkeeping"
losses for private business transactions could logically, if not
legally, be considered a cash subvention.
Another constant problem related to finance was the use of
the acquired currency. Some needy countries felt that without
restrictions on the use of the funds, they were gaining no material
advantage in their balance of payments. For example, if they lost
the dollar payments for local expenses of the U.S. diplomatic
missions and activities, and received instead the IMG converted
local currency, the U.S. government was in effect paying expenses
in merchandise-i.e., books instead of dollars. Many observers
saw the justification for restrictions placed on the use of the
currency by the foreign government, but strong congressional
objection to a foreign country's ability to veto the free use of
funds caused the agency finally to refrain from entering agreements
where currency use was restricted. This prevented several
countries that were foreign-policy "targets" from entering into
In the end, the sharply conflicting views brought about the
termination of IMG. The eligibility standards continued to be
considered too liberal by some and too restrictive by others. To
some it was a government propaganda device, to others it was a
subsidy of commercial exporters, and to still others it spelled
detested censorship. To some the funding method seemed the
only feasible way to relate government funding to normal business
operations, but to many congressmen it appeared to be
"back-door" financing that evaded the original enabling legislation.
The method of financing finally precipitated the termination
of the program in 1968. The Senate Appropriations Committee
had long voiced its displeasure that the agency was able to secure
funds from the Treasury without regular congressional appropriations.
So IMG was terminated, not by rescinding its statutory
authority but by cutting off funds for its administration. In the
agency's appropriation of FY 1967-68, the USIA was expressly
prohibited from using any of its funds for salaries or any other
operating expense of the program-an easy and simple method of
The IMG Program is now only an ambivalent memory to the
dwindling number of people around the world who were involved
in it. Yet its modus vivendi remains very attractive as a way to
overcome what is still one of the biggest obstacles to exporting
books to almost all less developed countries. So, no matter how
the pros and cons may stack up retrospectively, it seems clear
that IMG was successful in several important respects.
-It set a pattern for government and private-enterprise cooperation
that did not undercut the regular flow of commerce.
Nor did it line the pockets of either exporters or importers.
-It made available millions of copies of U.S. books to needy
countries that otherwise would have had to go without in very
-It taught many American publishers the difficulties and imperatives
of dealing with governmental political and regulatory
requirements. Hard lessons were learned on both sides.
-It put to good use many millions of excess U.S. counterpart
funds that were blocked and deteriorating rapidly in value.
(Such funds still moulder today in several Third World countries,
and in large amounts in India, Pakistan, and Burma, in
-It provided a comparatively cheap means for subsidizing
overseas distribution of high-grade propaganda materials in
support of the goodwill and foreign-policy objectives of our
Remembering the facts of IMG operations, a good many aging
publishers and a few "old hands" in Washington remain hopeful
that a new (and much simplified) IMG-type program will somehow
and soon be organized to meet the challenges that are today
as critical as they were in the two decades following World War II.
USIA Donated Books Programs.
This book program, primarily
of the 1960s, consisted of two elements: a people-to-people effort
among private organizations, to fill the "book gap" abroad in part
with used books, guided and supported by USIA; and a program
of assembling and distributing publisher overstocks, remainders,
and printing add-ons through USIA's own offices. In the private
group activity, USIA soon began to have questions about its involvement
in the distribution of unknown books in unknown condition to,
in some cases, unknown recipients. Resolving those
problems was not possible without considerable added cost to the
agency. In the mid-1960s, this book distribution was disengaged
from other USIA activities, with the private groups urged to
handle the entire process through the private sector, including
shipping costs and delivery. USIA support since, except in a few
special situations, has been advisory and facilitative.
A quantitatively larger donated-book activity of USIA was
the acceptance of excess books from publishers and their distribution
to Third World countries designated by publishers as not
currently profitable markets. For USIA, this activity yielded several
million books per year that were in good physical condition.
In addition, annotations of content were available from publisher
catalogs. Last, it was possible to deal with multiple copies of
single titles. The success of the program in the 1960s was possible,
however, largely because of an Internal Revenue Service ruling
that allowed publishers a tax deduction of the "fair market
value" of their donations. Most publishers, not surprisingly, were
quick to take "market-value" as the retail price of a book, and
USIA had almost more books than it could ship. But in a 1969
ruling, IRS defined the "fair value" of a donated book as the
manufacturing cost. The donations soon plummeted as publishers
found'more economic means of handling spare books; and by 1982,
USIA was receiving only 100,000 books per year. Since 1981,
USIA has been studying ways of restoring incentives for such
donations, but without success thus far.
USIA presented to Congress a low-priced paperback book program
and received an immediate favorable response to it. The
premise was that what was then beginning in U;S. publishing was
applicable elsewhere, and that paperbacks in large editions would
sell at very low retail prices to mass audiences. Japanese, Chinese,
seven or eight languages in India, Thai, Urdu, Arabic,
Greek, and Turkish were the principal languages chosen to launch
the program. To further emphasize the commercial nature of the
program, USIA subsidized these editions through a U.S. commercial house.
Several problems beset the program: there were insufficient
book outlets for the books produced; the low retail prices did not
give the booksellers a sufficiently attractive mark-up; there were
questions as to how many books were actually printed, since the
U.S. company could supervise only infrequently on the scene; and
an overly high subsidy gave publishers little incentive to sell. In
1960, this program was terminated in favor of programs supervised
by USIA officers who dealt directly, but not always expertly,
with the foreign publishers.
The 1956 low-priced book
program concept also produced a program of full-length American
books in English-"Student Editions"-reprinted by American
paperback houses in the United States and sold through commercial
export channels at low wholesale and retail prices. Located
closer to home, the Student Editions program was able to respond
more quickly to the problems that caused the translation
program to falter. Retail prices gradually rose from 10 cents to 25
cents; print runs were reduced from 50,000 to 25,000 and on more
serious titles 20,000 and 15,000-all to adjust printings to the
demand through established international book channels. In
many ways these editions were ahead of their time, the audience
for which books in English are now in demand having only developed
slowly over two decades of attention to education and literacy
abroad. In any event, other demands on USIA funds led to
termination of the Student Editions in 1964.
More timely in 1957
was the Ladder Series-paperback editions of American books
abridged and adapted in controlled vocabularies for readers of
English as a second or foreign language. Publication and distribution
practices were the same as for the Student Editions, except
the Ladder Edition had the advantage of being salable everywhere
in the Third World, rather than only in countries like India
where audiences were well educated in English. When initiated in
1957, the series was intended to provide readers with useful
books on American culture at a level that the modestly advanced
English student could understand. But their linguistic structure
led to their adoption first as collateral reading and then as texts
for English courses. Probably it was the most successful series
that USIA had produced; approximately 70 percent of more than
nine million books published were sold. Despite increasing expenses,
sales receipts and marketing experience enabled USIA to
produce the books at 19 cents per book in 1975, compared to 25
cents in 1957. Limitations on budget, not a decline in usefulness,
resulted in termination by USIA of its subsidy in 1975. In Korea
and Japan, fortunately, Ladder books were sufficiently profitable
to make possible reprints by publishers in those countries without
USIA financing. Similar situations may be arising in North
Africa and Southeast Asia. Such editions do help somewhat to
meet the worldwide demand for English teaching materials, and
Ladder books do continue to exist in some areas.
The return of DeGaulle to
power in France at the beginning of the 1960s led to the rapid
transition of Francophone Africa from colonies to countries. Belgium
also reacted to the trend of the times by granting independence to
the Congo. Faced with new communication problems,
USIA responded by creating a French for Africa Book Program
in 1962. The African Regional Service Center was created in
Paris, and 800,000 copies of translated U.S. books were produced
in the first full year of 1963. It was soon found, however, that no
commercial system existed for distribution of the books to potential
markets in Africa.
This lack led the USIA to an expenditure of some $400,000
more per year to create one. It funded the cost of a Paris office
and a staff of five salesmen for a large American exporter. But
that arrangement did not work out satisfactorily for either side,
so it was terminated in 1967, and the USIA undertook a new, less
Since so much expense went into creating the initial distribution
network, no additional funding was available for publishing.
Production in Paris began to decrease, from the first year's high
of 800,000 to 748,000 copies in 1964, to 781,000 in 1965, and to
640,000 in 1966. By 1967 production was at 531,000 copies, and a
new distribution system was developed by a joint arrangement
between another U.S. exporter and a large French publisher. But
by 1979 production was at 67,000 copies, and financial support for
distribution was at zero.
If the 1950s were a period of experimentation, the 1960s produced
considerably expanded USIA book programs. One-country
language programs that had grown out of the 1956 low-priced
translated book programs were producing books in Korean, Chinese,
Burmese, Thai, Malay, and soon, if not in large quantities,
then at levels that gave U.S. books a respectable presence in
bookstores of the countries where these languages were read. In
each case, the USIA post in the country now had full responsibility
for its programs. The Chinese program eventually developed a
"back list" of American studies that continue to be reprinted in
thirteenth and fourteenth editions.
But the most active translation program of the early 1960s
was a direct result of President Kennedy's "Alliance for Progress"
in Latin America. Regional Book Offices were established
by USIA in Mexico, Argentina, and Brazil, and AID set up its
own offices in those cities to produce scientific and technical
books. Figures are not readily available on the AID program,
although it is known that perhaps two million books and pamphlets
were produced annually in the best years of the ten-year
duration of the program. USIA's program produced one million
books per year minimum in 1963 in both Spanish and Portuguese
and reached a peak of two million in each language in 1966. From
there, production began to be contracted under the same budget
structures as other USIA programs. In 1982, the two book offices
that remained in Mexico and Argentina produced some 300,000
copies. Those offices now primarily identify and promote American
books in Spanish published without USIA assistance.
private-sector organization was started in 1952 under the direction of a
board of directors composed of prominent educators, public officials,
corporate executives, librarians, and publishers. Though it
was not publicly announced at the time, it was organized at the
instigation of the International Information Agency (IIA) in the
State Department, which saw the need for a nongovernmental,
noncommercial agency to provide professional guidance and contractual
management of its projected overseas publishing ventures. In fact,
the IIA (which a year later became the USIA)
wholly financed Franklin's start-up costs through advance contractual
arrangements. A few years later, after Franklin had be-
come largely self-supporting and had gained favorable recognition
worldwide, the initial government connection was "surfaced"
to the credit of the original IIA initiative. Thereafter most of
Franklin's operating costs were financed by its own earnings and
by contributions from U.S. foundations, corporations, and interested
Franklin's program objectives were: "(1) To increase local capabilities
through technical assistance and training in the planning,
production, and dissemination of educational materials at all
levels of developing societies; (2) To increase international exchange
of knowledge through translation and copyright services,
stimulation of international trade, conferences, and exhibits; (3)
To strengthen marketing and distribution of locally produced and
imported educational materials; (4) Tb develop the reading habit
through reading-reinforcement materials; library development
and utilization particularly for children; assistance to literary
Starting initially at Cairo, and operating largely with the
start-up funds provided by USIA, Franklin assisted in the production
of more than four hundred translated Arabic editions of
U.S. books within its first ten years. It acquired translation rights
from U.S. publishers for nominal fees, financed high quality
translations, and then assigned translated titles to competent
local publishers who produced the books on a commercial basis,
with a reimbursing royalty paid to Franklin in local currency.
This pattern of operations was soon extended to other countries,
and within the initial decade some seven hundred other translated
editions were published in the Farsi, Urdu, Bengali, Malay,
Indonesian, and Pushtu languages.
From these starting programs, Franklin branched out by financing
and overseeing the production of new, modern encyclopedias
in the Arabic, Farsi, Bengali, Urdu, and Indonesian languages.
In addition, it assisted in the indigenous production of
textbooks, school magazines, audiovisual materials, technical
pamphlets, and higher-level professional books and journals. In
later years, the planning and administration of local training programs
became a major activity, sponsored usually by developing
country governments, especially those included in a Latin America
country-to-country program that was started (but under-financed) in 1976.
In its quarter century of operations, more than three thousand
titles were translated and produced through Franklin. For
all its programs, more than $100 million was expended in various
currencies. About $20 million of this came from U.S. sources, and
only $600,000 was contributed in cash by the U.S. book industry.
The rest came from earned income and government contracts in
foreign countries. (Actually, the U.S. book industry had an even
cash balance with Franklin; our publishers received a total of
about $600,000 in rights and royalty payments.)
In spite of this outstanding record of success, Franklin Book
Programs had to struggle for existence in the 1970s. Anyone who
is not thoroughly familiar with Franklin's history might well ask
how this could happen. There are several reasons why it did
happen, some of them sound, others false or factitious.
First, Franklin fulfilled its original mission in several countries
by producing as many translated editions as national or area
markets could absorb.
Second, there were, inevitably, a few cases of incompetent,
even dishonest, management of field offices. Naturally, they
caused a considerable amount of both local and home-office disaffection.
Third, in Iran and Afghanistan, Franklin's activity assisted
government-directed monopolies of textbook production, including
the design and operation of three new and modern printing
plants. This blocked private-enterprise publishing, which disquieted
a good number of U.S. publishers who had supported Franklin's
efforts in other countries.
Fourth, Franklin forfeited much of its U.S. government support
by refusing to limit its sponsorship to books that were
strictly in line with U.S. foreign policy objectives as interpreted
by USIA program officers. Hassling over this point of principle
went on for many years. It was, in fact, a sad repetition of the
Now, on balance, what can be said of Franklin's overall performance?
Well, those who saw both the rise and fall of Franklin's
fortune know that Franklin well served the interests of our book
industry and our government; and that it served even better the
interests of many book-hungry countries around the world, where
its model still enjoys much confidence and high reputation.
Although the Franklin Book Program was formally liquidated
in 1979, that was not the end of its good influence. Aside from the
millions of books published with Franklin's help, there exist,
even today, other residual benefits. The most important are, of
course, the hundreds of Asians, Africans, and Latin Americans
who were trained in the various aspects of book work. Another
great contribution was the evolvement of new concepts and methods
of cooperating with people in developing countries and offering
them technical assistance in ways that were acceptable to
them as self-respecting men and women. So the Franklin experience
should be kept freshly in mind. Its spirit and its basic ideas
can be revived usefully for other programs for other needy countries
at later times. And here at home we can still benefit from its
valuable lessons of success and failure in organizing work between
private enterprise and government agencies.
The Philippines: U.S. Textbook Production Project (TPP).
This project, which ran from 1961 through 1966, was probably the
largest ever undertaken by the U.S. Agency for International
Development (USAID). It was planned to provide for approximately
80 percent of the basic book needs for public elementary
and high schools. USAID provided manufacturing materials,
technical assistance (notably printing skills and supervision), and
down-time use of the USIA regional printing plant in Manila. It
also trained locally employed authors and instructional-materials
specialists. The Philippine government directed the preparation
and selection of the textbooks, contracted with private printers,
and was responsible for the distribution of the books.
The overall U.S. dollar contribution to the project was $4.4
million; the Philippine contribution was 65 million pesos ($16.75
million), including some counterpart funds generated by U.S. agricultural
aid. In six years, the project produced nearly 25 million
textbooks for grades 1-12. Approximately half of the eighty-seven
titles produced were specifically written for the project; the remainder
were adapted reprints of U.S. titles. Most of the books
were extensively illustrated in four colors, casebound with cloth
covers, and meant to last a minimum of five years.
About 65 percent of the books were produced by the private
Philippine printing industry; thus the project had a major impact
on upgrading and providing needed work for that industry. By
the end of 1966, the Philippine government was facing an acute
economic crisis, and the Department of Education ran out of
funds for needed revisions, reprintings, and replacements. So the
whole project had to be terminated.
Clearly, the project was managed primarily by printers, and
good ones. However, it is not clear whether manuscripts were
ever tested in classrooms before production, or whether teacher
training was part of the project. In fact, it appears that no one
ever investigated how effective the books were in classroom use.
In 1975, when the results of TPP were briefly investigated in
the context of appraising a new textbook project for the World
Bank, no one was able to locate a single complete set of the texts
or to determine what titles had ever been reprinted, revised, or
supplemented. By that year, Philippine classrooms once again
lacked textbooks to a paralyzing extent.
This was another
intergovernmental project that can be described as a sad echo of the
foundered USAID Philippine textbook project. It was planned
and approved in 1973 for initial financing by a line of credit with
the International Development Association (IDA) amounting to
U.S. $13.5 million. (The IDA is an arm of the World Bank that
makes long-term "credit loans" to very poor countries only; its
resources and operating methods are far too complex to permit
description here.) The total cost of the Indonesian Project was
estimated in 1973 to be $40 million, but by November 1978 the
amount had increased to $105 million, of which the greater part
by far was paid by the Indonesian government. Other agencies
involved in the original IDA credit-loan were the government of
Canada (largely paper supplies), UNICEF, and the World Bank.
The enormous project had three primary purposes: (1) the
provision of elementary and secondary level textbooks of American origin;
(2) improvements in teacher's education and classroom
skills; (3) strengthening of the primary school inspectorate. It
would also encourage and coordinate curriculum development as
the writing and production of the new textbooks progressed.
From inception, it suffered from a lack of focus on institution-building,
on the development of professional publishing capabilities,
and on the training and retention of adequate staff. Little
attention was paid to manuscript development, and the project
experienced continuous problems with the testing, production,
and distribution of its products.
In spite of these failures, the project did produce more than
100 million books before its conclusion at the end of the 1978-79
budget year, making it one of the largest textbook projects ever
undertaken. Unfortunately, delays of up to two years in production
schedules caused by slow financial and publishing procedures
(and no doubt unrealistic schedules) caused considerable dislocation
in the concurrent training program for teachers. Nor were
books ever delivered to schools on time for the beginning of the
academic year. As with the Philippine project, considerably more
time and effort were spent on physically producing books and on
the taxing problems of distribution than on ensuring that the
texts were suitable for classroom use and would be properly used.
Further, the project accomplished little toward developing publishing
competence and toward building an indigenous publishing
There is general consensus
among Indian and American educators, government officials,
publishers, and other informed observers that Indian
higher education was well served by a major and generous U.S.
government-subsidy textbook reprint program carried on in India
during the decades of the 1960s and the 1970s.
Using surplus Indian rupee funds generated through the sale
of U.S. grain to the government of India during the 1950s, the
USIA launched in New Delhi a textbook-subsidy reprint program
in the early 1960s. The Joint Indo-American Textbook Program,
as it was officially designated, ultimately produced over eight
million low-priced reprints of nearly two thousand American university
and polytechnic textbooks. Although official data on the
amount of rupee funds expended are not available, information
gathered from several sources indicates that the eight million
textbooks produced during the twenty-year period cost between
$16 and $18 million (in rupees)-or a little over $2.00 per copy.
Rupee funds were made available for this purpose under Public
Law 480 of the 83d Congress, titled the Agricultural Trade and
Development Assistance Act of 1954. This act allowed developing
countries to pay for purchases of U.S. surplus agricultural commodities
in local currencies rather than in scarce U.S. dollars.
Such amounts paid and held in the account of the U.S. government
which were determined by the U.S. Department of the
Treasury to be in excess of normal needs, such as costs of operating
U.S. embassies, could be used for a number of specified purposes,
as negotiated with host-country governments, including
support for publication and distribution of textbooks and other
educational materials. Surplus or excess currencies proposed for
such purposes required specific appropriation by the U.S. Congress,
just as regular dollar funds do.
The Joint Indo-American Textbook Program was established
in response to a formal request of the Indian Ministry of Education
(MOE). At the MOE's request, a body was constituted to set
policies and to provide administrative oversight for the program.
That body, designated as the Joint Indo-American Textbook
Board, was made up of officials of the MOE and USIA. It is worth
noting that similar joint boards for Soviet and British low-priced
textbook programs were already in existence at that time, and
that they still exist today.
Policies established by this board provided for review and
approval of textbooks proposed by Indian publishers; for royalties
to American publishers not to exceed 10 percent of U.S. list prices
and subject to a 50 percent Indian income tax; for printing and
binding of the reprint editions in India; and for sale to Indian
students at one-fifth of the U.S. list prices.
Once a book was approved by the MOE, USIA negotiated a
subsidy contract with the Indian publisher. (No contract was
signed, however, until the publisher produced a signed translation
agreement with the American copyright owner.) Essentially, the
USIA contract granted direct subsidy support (normally 80 percent
of total production costs and 100 percent of royalty payments)
and required the Indian publisher to produce the book
within a specified period of time, to price it at the required low
list price, and then to promote sales actively.
As the program grew, USIA funding became inadequate to
match the increasing requirements. Moreover, USIA questioned
whether it should be supporting growing numbers of textbooks in
the natural sciences and technology. Its charter was (and is today)
to support U.S. foreign policy and to explain American culture
and its institutions.
For these reasons, the USAID Mission in India joined the
American "side" of the program in 1969 with $6 million in funding
support in three installments. Thus, AID became a cosponsor of
the Joint Indo-American Textbook Program, taking over funding
for all scientific and technical books.
Success of the dual program in India was due in large measure
to the fortunate mix of large-scale funding; to careful, professional
planning by Indian and American members of the board;
and, importantly, to the cooperation of Indian and American publishers.
The support given by several joint Indo-American publishing
ventures, established during the early years of the program,
was also a major factor. At least six U.S. publishers set up
these joint-venture firms with Indian partners. These firms provided
badly needed editorial experience and managerial skill, and
they quickly formed the nucleus of a professionally experienced
Indian publishing base. Further, these Indo-American publishers
have continued to serve both Indian education and publishing by
producing many Indian or Indo-American and coauthored textbooks.
It is significant to note that in the first year of operation, the
P.L. 480 Textbook Program sponsored the publication of only 19
reprint editions of American textbooks in some fifty thousand
copies. After several years of experience, and with greatly enhanced
funding in the late 1960s and the early 1970s, this output
was multiplied ten times over. In 1970, the peak year, 297 reprint
editions were published in 1.7 million copies. Unfortunately, the
Pak-Indo war of 1971 brought a major break in relations between
the Indian and American governments. One of the consequences
was a sharp decline in funding for the PL. 480 Textbook Program.
Residual funds were used to keep the output reasonably high for
a few years. But by the mid-1970s only a small number of reprints
was produced each year. It dropped to an all-time low of four titles
in 1981 (Appendix E).
Although the PL. 480 Textbook Program, as described above,
may not be the pivotal factor, it is certain that with its decline the
import of American books by India has dropped steadily over the
past decade. It would appear that the time has arrived to resurrect
the program in one form or another.
this association included almost all university presses of the
United States and Canada, plus the National University of Mexico
Press. From 1965 to 1976, the AAUP jointly founded and
operated with the National University of Mexico an imaginative
program in Mexico City known as Centro Interamericano de Libros
Academicos (CILA), or Inter-American Scholarly Book Center,
as it was called on this side of the border. The highly laudable
objectives of this project as stated in part at its founding, were to
carry on the following activities:
1. Maintain an extensive exhibit or reference library
of important scholarly books from all American countries
and in the various languages of the hemisphere:
Spanish, Portuguese, English, and French . ... This
collection will be available for use by scholars, booksellers
who wish to examine books before ordering them,
publishers interested in translation rights, and the
2. Purchase and stock additional copies of many
books for sale, thus conducting a retail bookstore in
connection with the Center. (Few scholarly books from
the United States and even fewer from other Latin
American scholarly publishers are currently available
3. Supply books at standard discounts to other book-stores
and to libraries, thus acting as a jobbing agency
for publishers who wish to avail themselves of this
service.... Discounts allowed to dealers will be sufficient
to enable them to sell books at the same price at
which the Center offers them for sale....
4. Maintain a complete catalogue and order service
for cooperating publishers so that books not in stock
can be obtained. At present, a scholar frequently cannot
purchase individual books published outside his
own country; problems of credit and exchange and limited
or non-existent profit on small orders make this
sort of intellectual communication extremely difficult.
5. Develop customer lists and direct mail selling
methods throughout Latin America. Direct mail, so
common in Europe and the United States (and indeed
the chief method of selling specialized scholarly
books), has been little used in Latin America. ...
6. Work toward the development of a Latin American
version of "Scholarly Books in America. Published by
AAUP, it is a complete quarterly descriptive bibliography
of all books published by member presses in the
United States and Canada. Its regular free distribution
to libraries and scholars enables them to learn
quickly about books of interest to them.
7. Prepare lists and catalogues of books published in
Spanish and Portuguese by Latin American scholarly
publishers and utilize the Educational Directory (the
cooperative mailing service of AAUP) to distribute
these lists to interested scholars and libraries in the
United States and Canada.
8. Sell Latin American books directly by mail to
scholars and libraries in the United States and Can-
ada. It will be an enormous boon to Latin American-
ists in this country to have a dependable source of
supply for scholarly books from Latin America. ...
9. Provide informal advice on scholarly publishing
and on the establishment of university presses to
Latin American institutions which desire it.
10. Assist publishers to obtain translation rights to
scholarly books which they wish to publish in their
own languages, or at least to help them find out who
should be approached in connection with such rights.
From the start, CILA operated under the governance of a
joint board of directors, of which the Mexican members were
appointed by the rector of the National University, the U.S. members
by the AAUP. The executive director and the assistant director
were appointed, respectively, in the same way, and both performed
knowledgeably and competently-and to the satisfaction
of the book trade of both North and South America. Further, the
nonsales activities and services of the center proved to be of great
value to hundreds of scholars and librarians in both Anglo-America
and Ibero-America, and especially so to those of Mexico. And,
to the surprise of many, CILA's sale of Spanish/Portuguese books
to Anglo-America outstripped its sale of English-language books
to Ibero-America. Quite clearly, this indicated that most Latin
American publishers of scholarly books had not known how to
exploit ready markets for their products in the United States and
In spite of its auspicious early operations, CILA soon encountered
financial difficulty. Its start-up costs had been financed by
grants from the Ford Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation
to the University of Texas, which acted as the center's fiscal
agent. The two grants, made in January 1964, totaled $320,000.
This amount was supposed to cover operating deficit for four
years; after that CILA was projected to be self-supporting. But
this was not to be.
By the end of the second year of operations (1967), the central
problem could be identified: The revenue-producing activities
were not bringing in enough income to pay their own expenses
and that of the nonrevenue activities as well. But both the board
and the executive director felt that CILA was honor-bound to
continue the purely service activities to which it was committed.
This resulted, naturally, in a squeeze on budgets for sales ex-
pense. So the project struggled on for several years with deficit
spending while the AAUP was seeking additional supporting
grants. None was forthcoming, but in 1969 and 1971 the two
original grantors gave additional grants totaling $55,000 for the
"orderly termination" of the center.
On reading the several reports of the AAUP delegations and
specialists who went to Mexico to investigate the problems of
CILA, one has to reach certain hard conclusions.
First, it was planned on a scale that was far too broad and too
costly for its start-up fund and its potential operating income. It
attempted to do too much with too little of both money and staff.
Second, there was a fairly sharp and enervating difference in
basic concepts of purpose between the two partners in the venture.
The Mexican side appeared to think that the services to
scholars and scholarship were the main purpose of the center,
while the AAUP side seemed to look upon an increase in two-way
sales of scholarly books as the principal goal. This difference kept
the two sides from working in close harmony, particularly in the
matter of budgeting operating expense.
Third, although CILA was a failure, its history indicates that
a more simply structured and directed similar organization probably
could succeed in substantially increasing the flows of scholarly
books between the two Americas on a self-supporting basis.
We suggest that this is something for the new generation of university
press directors to think about.
Although a history of this now defunct body may
not fit neatly under the rubric of this part of our report, the
purpose and accomplishments of GAC should be described here if
for no reason other than the value of such a summary as critical
observation alone. Certainly, the fifteen years of the committee's
operation brought many benefits and taught many cautionary
lessons that should be remembered and valued for years to come.
GAC was established in 1962 under the authority of the Fulbright-Hayes
Act. It functioned beneficially until 1977, when it
fell victim to President Carter's edict on the abolishment of all
"nonessential" government advisory groups. Its demise was a
sore disappointment to scores of people who had observed the
committee's very useful function at very low cost to the government.
All members had served without compensation, and its
operating expense, including that of a small secretariat (two per-
sons), had been shared by USIA, AID, and the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. It had no operating programs or projects. Its sole function was to review and advise on proposed or ongoing programs by federal agencies-a fact that was not understood, most unfortunately, either by the book industry generally or within some of the government agencies that were involved.
Actually, even the genesis of GAC was the result of a fundamental misunderstanding. Attorney General Robert Kennedy made a speech at the 1961 annual meeting of the American Booksellers Association (ABA). He (or perhaps one of his speechwriters) had read an article by a book publisher which deplored the lack of communication and rapport between the book industry and the officials who planned and managed the government's major overseas book programs. The publisher had urged the need for an advisory committee that would meet regularly and serve as a conduit for more information and better understanding between the book industry and the government bureaucrats. In his ABA address, Bobby Kennedy quoted the publisher's suggestion and heartily endorsed the idea or organizing such an advisory committee. This endorsement was loudly applauded by his audience.
Immediately after the ABA meeting Kennedy asked ED Murrow, the director of USIA at the time, to follow through. Murrow, then well advanced in a fatal illness, passed the assignment along to his deputy director, Donald Wilson, who was on leave from his regular job as general manager of Time, Inc. Thereupon, Wilson asked the cited publisher to come to Washington for an informal discussion. It was then that the fundamental misunderstanding was discovered. Kennedy had thought he was endorsing the idea of a committee of government officials who would advise commercial publishers on how and where to sell U.S. books in the developing countries of the world. And he was particularly interested in ways and means for distributing more Government Printing Office publications abroad.
GAC's first meeting was held in the fall of 1962 with a membership
of twelve publishers and booksellers, appointed formally
by Secretary Rusk for rotating three-year terms. From the start,
the committee reported to the secretary through the assistant
secretary for cultural and educational affairs, and it had official
liaison with the director of USIA and AID. It was originally
concerned with book programs only. A few years later, the committee
was enlarged to include librarians and its name was
changed accordingly. Appointed in addition were government observers
from some eight or ten other agencies that had minor
interests in overseas book programs. Also, the directors of the
American Library Association, the American Book Publishers
Council (one of the predecessor organizations of the Association
of American Publishers), the American Booksellers Association,
the Association of American University Presses, and the Information
Industry Association were designated as appointed observers.
During the first two years, the committee met with its Washington
constituency every other month, and thereafter it met quarterly.
It should be emphasized that GAC was never given an official
agenda, neither did it have any authority for taking decisions or
making formal recommendations. Its sole mission was to review
and advise on projects and problems that were brought to it by its
constituent government agencies. And it did review all major
programs that were conducted overseas, and it did cause many
seemingly unsound proposals to be canceled. Further, while serving
in this "watchdog" capacity in Washington, it kept interested
book publishers and librarians currently informed on governmental
policies, plans, and actions that they should know about.
So much for the formal side of GAC's function. On the informal
side, it set about several more subtle tasks. First, it tried to
encourage all federal agencies to use the committee meetings as
an information clearinghouse and an open forum for discussion
and debate. Second, it tried to get all agencies to adopt uniform
policies and practices in their dealings with publishers and the
book trade. Third, it tried to get the major agencies to formalize
their policies and practices in written statements for the benefit
of the committee and of their own staffs in Washington and
abroad. Fourth, it tried to get USIA and USAID to adopt a
single, unified set of policies and practices for their separate dealings
with suppliers of services at home and with the foreign-
government recipients of their aid abroad. Although these informal
tasks were pursued doggedly for years by certain GAC
members, almost nothing was accomplished by their efforts. It
seemed that most agency directors preferred at heart to remain
free to go their own ways with as little regulation as possible.
Another serious hindrance was the frequent turnover of top administrative
offices in most of the agencies. It is a matter of
record that in its first three years, GAC's liaison with USIA and
AID was with eleven different directors or assistant directors.
Indeed, a few of the more fleeting of these officials were not in
their jobs long enough to gain more than remote familiarity with
the purpose and the responsibility of the committee. But then, as
now, this seemingly constant change had to be accepted as a way
of life in Washington. Most agencies, however, were fortunate
enough to have more stability in their second and third echelons
of career administrators. They provided the necessary experience
and continuity to keep operations going without too much interruption
Most of the old-timers who served as members of GAC now
agree that, despite its difficulties and limitations, the committee
had several desirable effects beyond its routine meeting-to-meeting performance.
-It clearly demonstrated the benefits of the continuous exchange
of information and the sharing of experience among its
-It educated many publishers and librarians in the ways and
requisites of governmental operations.
-It provided its members with enlightening insights to how
government policy is formulated and manipulated.
-It educated dozens of government administrators in the economics
of publishing, with particular reference to production
costs and distribution problems.
-It caused certain reforms of government contracting and procurement
procedures that were of considerable benefit on both
-It helped to check certain dishonest and costly cheating practices
that were all too often prevalent and customary at the
receiving end of assistance programs in many countries.
-It helped alert U.S. book publishers and librarians to the
urgent need for expert technical assistance to developing countries
in building their indigenous book industries and library
-It constantly reminded the State Department of its first-line
responsibility for protection against copyright infringement
and book "piracy" abroad and for active encouragement of
universal adherence to one or another of the several international
-It saved literally millions of U.S. taxpayers' dollars by advising
against the start of new assistance projects or for the cancellation
of older ones that were, patently, too ineffectual or
costly for the benefits promised or realized.
An experienced observer might well say that any one of these
benefits probably was worth all the government's costs and all the
private efforts that went into GAC's operation. But how can such
things be measured for either short-term or long-term benefits?
One thing, however, can be said for sure: Many people who
were involved with GAC have been pleased that USIA appointed
last year a new Book and Library Committee that will, perhaps,
be able to carry on where GAG left off in 1977.
Current U.S. Assistance Programs
In recent years, no new export assistance program of large size
has been inaugurated as a replacement for any of the past programs
that have been described. And most of the few programs
that have survived, both public and private, have wasted away-withered
on the vine-for want of financial support and aggressive
direction. In fact, very few still have sufficient substantive
worth to justify more than a summary mention in this report.
but often neglected federal agency underwent a mutation for a
short period, 1973 to 1983, when its functions were combined with
the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs in the State Department.
The amalgam was given a new name, International
Communications Agency. The old name was restored in late 1982,
however, and the independence and the legislated purpose of the
agency has since remained unchanged.
As in past years, the USIA continues to be responsible for
conducting informational, educational, cultural, and other related
exchange programs between the United States and other nations.
It currently maintains 201 posts in 125 countries. Support for
book and library programs is one important means by which
USIA fulfills its mission of increasing "mutual understanding
between the people of the United States and the people of other
countries." Major efforts include assistance in book publication,
translation, and promotion, plus the administration of United
States Information Services (USIS) libraries throughout the
Since 1950 USIA has assisted publications of books on U.S.
foreign policy, political and social processes, economy, science and
technology, education, and the arts and humanities. Through September
1980, the agency had assisted in the overseas production
of more than twenty-three thousand editions totaling more than
181 million copies in fifty-seven languages, including English. At
the present time, USIA's dwindling book programs work mainly
in the following languages: Arabic, Chinese, French, Portuguese,
and Spanish. Small programs continue in Bengali, Burmese, Japanese,
Korean, Malay, Thai, and Turkish.
The agency currently maintains 131 libraries of various kinds
in 79 countries. They are known locally by such names as American
Cultural Center, American Library, USIS Library, Amerika
Haus, or Biblioteca Abraham Lincoln. The agency also lends support
to libraries located in binational centers (autonomous local
institutions dedicated to the development of mutual understanding
between the United States and the host country). Although
the nature of the libraries does vary from country to country
according to local needs and conditions, they generally include
collections of books, periodicals, documents, and audiovisual materials,
and they offer a variety of services that would not otherwise be
available in the host countries. USIS librarians also maintain
close contact with libraries and other cultural and
educational institutions in the host countries. In 1981, USIA expenditures
for library materials and services totaled $3.5 million,
including $1.5 million for books alone.
The peak year of USIA-"sponsored" production of books was
1965, when a total of almost 13 million copies were printed for all
language editions. In 1977, production had dropped to a total of
fewer than one million copies, and it has, alas, remained well
below that level to this date.
Appendix F displays a historical record of the numbers of
copies of translated or reprinted editions assisted in whole or in
part by the USIA since the agency's inception. The numbers
apparently include copies produced in the Low-Priced Books programs
(both textbook and Ladder Series editions) and in the various
PL. 480 reprint and translation programs and probably those
in the many translated-book series produced by Franklin Book
Programs, but USIA has no clear record of what is included in
this compilation. It can be assumed, however, that the U.S. government
did not pay a good part of the total cost of the 151.5
million copies produced under the USIA aegis.
Currently, U.S. government policy is to induce the private
sector to check the sharp decline in the USIA-assisted book programs
for developing countries. Looking at the matter realistically,
one has to question whether this policy can possibly be
implemented with more than minimal success, even though there
are signs of general economic recovery in the offing. Yet, there
appears to be no doubting the argument that, at this particular
time, public policy does need much more private-sector support
than it has had in the past.
Through its Information Collection and Exchange
Center (ICE), the Peace Corps collects, reviews, and catalogs
training and educational materials for use by its overseas
field staffs. Also, it produces technical manuals and distributes
them in large quantities; seven of them were printed and widely
distributed in 1980 on such subjects as agriculture, fisheries, forestry,
conservation, and community health. In addition, it buys
specialized manuals from U.S. commercial publishers and uses
others supplied by various related government agencies.
This monumental information
center operates a Literature Exchange Program with approximately
four hundred partners in seventy-two countries
throughout the world. It deals largely in bibliographic publications
and other kinds of secondary information service. It also has
a Special Foreign Currency Program that operates under Public
Law 83-480, which allows the use of surplus PL. 480 funds to
finance scientific writing projects in seven cooperating countries:
Israel, Poland, Yugoslavia, Egypt, Tunisia, India, and Pakistan.
During 1980 there were ninety-five active projects in this program.
Among the many informational activities
of the Library of Congress are two that are especially relevant
to this study. The first is a large mutual exchange program
with ninety-two foreign governments, which serves some 13,500
libraries and other educational and research institutions. About
1.4 million U.S. publications are distributed abroad annually under
this worldwide program. The second is the Center for the
Book, a promotional organization that is housed and partly
staffed by the Library but largely financed by private-sector contributions.
This relatively new public-private collaboration is dedicated to the
enhancement of the general welfare of books and
their creators and to wider distribution and use of books at home
and abroad. Its purpose and various pro bono publico activities
have set a new pattern of government and private-sector cooperation
that could have, with sufficient support, far-reaching consequences.
The center's sponsorship of the present study is typical
of its current activity. In short, it can be assumed that in time the
center's influence will be far more important than its currently
The Organization of
American States is an international organization established to
strengthen the peace and security of the Western Hemisphere
and to promote the economic, social, scientific, educational, and
cultural development of its member states (of which there were
twenty-seven in 1981). The magazine Revista Interamericana de
Bibliografia, published by the OAS since 1951, is a source of
information on books from or about Latin America or the Caribbean.
It includes book reviews, notes about authors, notices of
important meetings, and reports of research in progress. Also, it
lists new U.S. government publications about Latin America.
The book, library, and publishing projects sponsored by the
OAS Department of Cultural Affairs focus on promoting literacy,
developing materials for young readers and for new adult readers,
improving book distribution, assisting libraries, and encouraging
cooperation among all parts of the book community. Several
of the major projects can be described briefly.
The Inter-American Project on Children's Literature was established
in 1978 by the OAS Department of Cultural Affairs to
improve the textual and visual quality of books, to aid in their
distribution and lower their cost, and to increase the world market
for Latin American children's books. The project sponsors
training for authors, illustrators, and publishers, and it has created
a network of documentation centers for children's literature
throughout Spanish-speaking Latin America.
Between 1977 and 1981, the OAS Department of Cultural
Affairs funded two projects, one in El Salvador and one in Colombia,
both aimed at developing ways to disseminate printed information
to low-level adult readers in poverty areas. Using experience
thus gained, the department has financed a program in
1982-83 in Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua that will seek in
each country to coordinate publishing and information activities
relating to low-income populations.
Book development has been an important objective
of this well-known organization since its inception. Its activities
have included guidance to developing countries in expanding
book production, promotion of the free flow of books throughout
the world, publication of studies and reports on regional and national
book needs, and the regulation and monitoring of international
copyright problems and practices. The main objective is to
assist all countries to achieve an adequate level of book production,
always viewing books as part of a larger, interrelated cultural program.
UNESCO's publishing program includes dozens of items relating
to books and book development. Book Promotion News, a
quarterly bulletin, carries news of regional activities, book fairs
and exhibitions, and recent publications. Among its monographic
series, Books about Books, inaugurated in 1979, is of special interest.
The general conference of UNESCO proclaimed 1972 as International
Book Year "to focus the attention of the general public
[and of] governments and international and domestic organizations
on the role of books and related materials in the lives and
affairs of the individual and society." A program resulting from
the experience and suggestions garnered during the year was
published in a booklet, Books for All, which aimed at promoting
"world-wide action in favor of books and reading." In 1982 UNESCO
sponsored a World Congress on Books to assess developments
since the International Book Year and prepare recommendations
for future UNESCO programs.
Although this is technically an independent, nonprofit private-sector
organization (incorporated and based in Washington, D.C.),
its initial funding came in 1970 from a low-interest loan from the
Inter-American Development Bank. In later years, this funding
has been supplemented by substantial donations by a few U.S.
foundations and corporations. But by making careful use of revolving
funds, the corporation's book program has been largely
The Medical Book Program was originally conceived by the
Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO), with which the public
service directors of the foundation have worked closely in assisting
universities and medical schools in twenty-nine Latin
American countries. Actually, the foundation was created because
the Inter-American Development Bank could not legally make a
loan to another international agency such as the PAHO. The
amount of the first loan in 1970 was U.S. $2 million for the medical
education program. This program was so successful that it was
extended in 1973 to nursing education, an even more needy area.
The need and the operating principles for the original medical
book program had been rationalized by the foundation's directors
The fact that textbooks in Spanish and Portuguese
were not within the economic reach of medical students
adversely affected the teaching-learning process. ...
The goal, then, was to facilitate acquisition of books
while students were still in medical school, and in the
process to encourage physicians to accumulate their
own basic reference libraries.
Analysis of the problem led to a proposal for a revolving
fund which could provide the capital needed to
conduct direct negotiations with publishers-either for
purchase of books in quantity or for the right to print
them independently. By operating on a nonprofit basis,
holding down administrative costs, limiting the number
of books included in the program, and making each
school responsible for sales, storage, and record-keeping,
books could be made available to students at half
the regular market price. Cooperation, or at least tacit
acceptance, by local bookstores could be encouraged
by systematically restricting the program to undergraduate
medical students and not opening it to practitioners.
By 1977 the book programs had far exceeded the goals established
in the original loan agreement. Rights to translate twenty-eight
textbooks into Spanish and Portuguese had been purchased
from U.S. publishers, and 335,000 copies of the translated editions
had been sold through 146 participating schools. At that
time, the foundation reported that the publishers involved had
cooperated fully and had been pleased with the results. Also, it
pointed out that PAHEF had expanded the demand for books
among groups that previously had bought none at all. In effect,
the programs had "made the market," so that publishers were
able to produce in larger volume at lower costs.
Also reported was the fact that the foundation had purchased
more than half of its supply of books as regular editions of U.S.
publishers and fewer than half had been purchased as licensed
In the wake of the successes with the medical and nursing
programs, the foundation's assistance was extended to the train-
ing of the entire health team, including the technicians, auxilliaries,
and community health workers who were so necessary to
serve remote populations that had never been adequately served
in the past. This wider expansion was made possible by an additional
loan of U.S. $5 million by the Inter-American Development
From every point of view-that of international public financing,
of private-sector governance and management, and of cost-effectiveness
in filling critical needs-PAHEF can be taken as a
model for similar organizations to assist educational programs in
other professional and occupational areas such as agriculture, engineering,
forestry, conservation, communications, and behavioral
This is probably the oldest and the most
consistently effective of all the private organizations of its kind in
America. Founded in 1954, the foundation has its main office in
San Francisco and a branch office in Washington, D.C. Its board
of directors is composed of nationally prominent members who
have served well to guide the foundation's several operating programs
and to help in keeping them financially solvent.
Books for Asia is one of the larger divisions of the foundation.
At November 1, 1982, it had shipped 20 million U.S. books to
educational and cultural institutions of twenty-two Asian countries.
(See Appendix G for a cumulative record of its donations of
books and journals for the years 1954-82.)
The Books for Asia's home operating budget has averaged
between $300,000 and $400,000 per annum in recent years. In
addition, from $600,000 to $700,000 has been supplied annually by
the foundation's central budget for such expenses as offshore
shipping, staffing and maintaining the overseas distribution centers,
and a share of overhead expenses. For many years, the
USIA has heavily financed the offshore shipping costs.
More specifically, during fiscal 1981, Books for Asia sent
636,000 books and journals to seventeen Asian and Pacific Island
countries. This total was about 24 percent less than the amount
shipped in FY 1980. The decline can be explained in part by a
decrease in book donations as well as by problems experienced in
shipping books to particular countries. Actually, four out of every
five books sent to Asia are donated. In 1981, Books for Asia
accepted donations of 517,000 books with a value of $4.6 million.
Over 60 percent of them came from U.S. publishers.
A 1979 IRS ruling concerning publishers' inventory tax
(based on the "Thor Power Tools" case) has affected the pattern of
publishers' donations. There was a 28 percent reduction in donations
from 1980 to 1981, a decline from 409,000 to 327,000 copies.
Another factor affected the quantity of books donated by publishers
in 1981. Many American firms are expanding their sales
efforts in Asia, and hence they are becoming increasingly reluctant
to donate books to the foundation, for fear of injuring their
own sales. In the future, it will be necessary to accept restrictions
on the ultimate destination of books donated by publishers. It
appears that these restrictions are not likely to affect book programs
in the People's Republic of China, however, or those in
certain countries of South Asia.
In addition to donations, Books for Asia purchases material
for overseas shipment. A primary source of these purchases is the
American textbook wholesalers (who also donate tens of thousands
of books each year). During 1981, Books for Asia expanded
its contacts in this area, thus ensuring the steady flow of high-quality
used books (making up, in part, for the decline in new
book donations from publishers).
Books for Asia had several notable successes in 1981. Most
significant, perhaps, was the dramatic increase in books shipped
to the People's Republic of China (PRC): 18,900 volumes, as opposed
to 4,853 in 1980. Further, book shipments to Sri Lanka
increased threefold in fiscal 1981, from 15,639 to 48,768. And in
the Republic of the Maldives, Books for Asia sent the first general
shipment of 5,901 volumes. This single shipment more than doubled
that country's supply of books.
Shipments to Bangladesh were increased by 35 percent in
1981. The majority of these shipments were sent to the foundation's
office in Dacca for general distribution. Toward the end of
the fiscal year, however, large numbers of requests were received
from Dacca for special collections for particular institutions.
It is anticipated that the appointment of a resident foundation
representative in Pakistan will lead to a solution of the problem of
customs restrictions on the importation of books, which will enable
Books for Asia to increase distribution in that country.
A final "success" was the Malaysia program. The quantity of
books shipped increased by 62 percent, to 44,839, making Malaysia
the fifth largest program in Asia for the year. Of special interest
is the fact that a substantial portion of the books sent to
Malaysia was composed of special collections for particular insti-
tutions, such as the Bintulu Development Authority and the University
Under present conditions, given the drastic reduction or the
elimination of so many federal assistance programs, the Asia
Foundation can be taken as a prototype and model for the initiation
of other private-sector organizations of the same sort as
"gap-filling" efforts. Several such organizations do now exist, but
none of them approach Books for Asia, either in size or in effective
aid to their chosen areas. In fact, the Asia Foundation has
pioneered a track that may be not only the best but the only way
in which other private area-interested groups or corporations or
individuals can hope to make a dent in the needs, even the minimal
needs, of the many developing countries that deserve U.S.
. This Pittsburgh-based
philanthropic foundation was established in 1958 as a medical
service organization. In recent years its education program has
expanded to include a major book distribution program. BBF
specializes in assistance by "gifts in kind;' and its work is carried
on largely by volunteers. Its total program expenditure in 1981
was approximately $4.2 million. Over 95 percent of its financial
support comes from private sources.
Most American publishers readily donate overstocks and remainders
of superseded editions to countries that are too poor to
buy all the books they need. Between 1981 and 1983, BBF
shipped nearly four million books donated by American publishers.
Most of its book donations go to the Caribbean and four
small English-speaking countries in Africa, but in 1982 a significant
program was undertaken in the People's Republic of China.
As its book program budget is under $100,000 a year, BBF
relies on indigenous institutions in the recipient nations to help
cover shipping costs and handle local distribution. Local recipients
include government agencies, universities, religious organizations,
and civic groups. BBF also solicits, packs, and ships book
donations for other charities, includintheh Asia Foundation, the
Foundation for Books to China, and the Pan American Development Foundation.
The Foundation for Books
to China, based in San Francisco, has focused its efforts on the
People's Republic of China and works in cooperation with UNI-
CEF, the U.S. Information Agency, and private agencies such as
Project Hope, a distributor of privately donated medical textbooks.
Since its creation in 1980, the foundation has shipped approximately
five hundred thousand books to China. With help
from subsidized ocean freight rates from American President
Lines, the foundation expects to continue to ship substantial numbers
of U.S. books abroad. Currently all distribution in China is
handled by various government agencies and UNICEF representatives.
present, seventy-two North American and four overseas presses
are members of this organization. Its purpose is to sponsor workshops,
seminars, exhibits, and other similar activities that promote
the welfare of university press publishing and the sale of
scholarly books in both domestic and overseas markets.
In 1960 an International Cooperation Committee was established.
This committee organized and guided the Centro Interamericano
de Libros Academicos (CILA) project (described in
Part 5) from 1965 to its demise in 1976. More recently its members
participated in an international conference on scholarly publishing
jointly sponsored by UNESCO and the University of Toronto
Press that led to the establishment of the International
Association of Scholarly Publishers (IASP). The AAUP has continued
to foster IASP, as well as supporting specific scholarly
presses in other parts of the world, through consultation and by
acting as host and coordinator for visiting scholarly publishers
from offshore. Through its for-profit marketing-service subsidiary,
American University Press Services, the AAUP also conducts
cooperative exhibits of its members' books at international
scholarly meetings and book fairs. American University Press
Services also conducts a program of cooperative advertising projects
directed to scholarly and institutional offshore markets.
This organization was
founded in 1945, as a not-for-profit association dedicated to promoting
children's books. Its membership consists of more than
seventy U.S. publishers of children's trade books. One of its major
promotions is the annual Children's Book Week in November. The
organization's publications, including Calendar, Prelude, and
Children's Book Week promotional materials, are of interest primarily
to persons in the United States and Canada.
The council's active international program includes serving,
with the Association for Library Service to Children of the American
Library Association, as the U.S. National Section of the
International Board of Books for Young People (IBBY). The council
acts as the U.S. secretariat for IBBY. In this capacity it supports
the participation in IBBY affairs of one children's book
publisher who serves on IBBY's executive committee; and it administers
the participation of Americans in IBBY congresses.
Also, it sponsored International Children's Book Day in 1972 and
organized Friends of IBBY, Inc., in the United States.
The CBC administers a program of deposits of children's
books in countries around the world. For several years the council
donated annual deposits of children's books to collections in Third
This quasi-governmental organization
serves as an operating agency for the National Academy of
Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering, private
societies of distinguished scholars that advise the federal
government in matters of science and technology. The NRC's
international work is carried out by the Commission on International
Relations, as well as by an advisory committee on the
USSR and Eastern Europe, by the Committee on Scholarly Communication
with the People's Republic of China, and through the
administration of International Atomic Energy Agency Fellowships.
The Board on Science and Technology for International Development
(BOSTID) of the NRC conducts studies that both examine
development problems of concern to a number of developing
nations and suggest ways in which U.S. scientific and technical
resources can help solve these problems. Additional studies, generated
by BOSTID's Advisory Committee on Technology Innovation
(ACTI), concentrate on innovative uses of technologies,
plants, and animals in developing countries. The Agency for International
Development provides the primary financial support
for BOSTID studies.
is another intergovernmental program that should be described
because it can have a large, long-range impact on U.S.-Philippine
relations in general and on a fading export market for U.S. books
In a sense, this project picked up, in a more realistic way,
where the failed USAID-Philippine project left off in 1975. The
current project was planned largely by an experienced American
consulting firm which has also monitored its progress. To date, it
has managed, apparently, to avoid the major mistakes that crippled
the earlier USAID program.
The present jointly financed project was planned in two
phases: Phase I to run from 1976 to 1981, and Phase II from 1982
to 1985. Phase I was budgeted at U.S. $50 million for the production
of 27 million textbooks and accompanying teachers' editions.
Actually, 35.6 million copies of eighty-three titles were produced
and distributed by August 1982. Phase II was also budgeted at
U.S. $50 million for four years, but planned for the production of
11 million textbooks and teachers' editions per year over a ten-year
period. The World Bank will be involved in cofinancing for
four years only, however. To date some 50 million copies of new
texts and second editions of Phase I texts have been produced in
Phase II. Presumably, the Philippine government will be able to
carry on without further World Bank financial assistance after
The terms and conditions for financing both phases of this
program require the World Bank to supply hard-currency loans of
50 percent of the budgets for the purchase of foreign publishing
rights and manufacturing materials, while the Philippine government
pays 50 percent in its own peso soft currency to pay local
salaries and other operating and distributing costs.
The project is operated by a Textbook Board Secretariat, a
publishing organization responsible to the Ministry of Education.
The board was set up under a concept of "institutional building"
as well as a policy and management authority. This is to say that
its mandate was to use a systems approach in its task of supplying
free textbooks for all Filipino elementary and high school
students. This has resulted in the building of a professional staff
of more than one hundred specialists in the various aspects of
publishing-editing, testing, design, manufacturing, quality control,
and distribution. Also, emphasis has been placed on an intensive
teacher-training program that helps to introduce the new
textbooks in classrooms.
Phase I of the project concentrated, quite naturally, on elementary
texts on fundamental subjects ("the three R's") in the
native languages. Phase II has concentrated on high school texts
with special emphasis on mathematics, natural science, social sci-
ence, and the language arts (the several Philippine languages and
English as a second language).
In passing, it should be mentioned that, in addition to the
successful Philippine program, the World Bank is financing, on
similar patterns, several developing national-textbook projects in
Africa and Asia, and to a lesser extent in Latin America. In all
cases commercial publishers are helping and are benefiting both
directly and indirectly. British and French publishers have been
working closely with the World Bank on these new projects, but,
strangely enough, U.S. book publishers have shown very little
interest in them. Perhaps it is a question of long-term versus
of Other Countries
As noted earlier, other industrialized countries have stepped up
their national programs for assistance to book exports, while U.S.
programs have been on the decline. Political, commercial, cultural,
and humanitarian purposes have been combined in various
proportions in all instances. And in all instances national governments
have supplied the main initiatives and most of the required
financing. In the USSR, where by far the largest effort has been
made, only the central government or the constituent republics
have been involved, there being no private sector.
A look at the assistance programs of five of the larger book-publishing
countries (all competitors of the United States) can be
helpful here in several ways.
-We can learn concepts and methods that might be used to
strengthen our own faltering efforts.
-We can observe that their gains in some places-and particularly
in developing countries-are inimical to our own interests.
-We may have our traditional competitive spirit stimulated
Soviet Union. An unpublished government report estimates
that the total USSR propaganda effort is at present seven times
larger than that of the United States. This report calculates that
the Soviet Union spends the equivalent of $3.3 billion annually on
propaganda activities, including Radio Moscow's foreign service
($700 million), the Communist party's international activities
($150 million), and TASS, the Soviet news agency, which spends
$550 million a year advancing Moscow's interpretation of world
A report prepared by the USIA research staff in 1981 offers
the following insights into Soviet cultural and information activities.
-Soviet efforts are the most intense and diverse in Sub-Sa-
haran Africa and South Asia; less in Latin America, the Near
East, North Africa, and Western Europe; and least in East
-Among the countries where the USSR is most active are: all
Sub-Saharan African nations; India, Mexico, Nicaragua, and
Peru; Algeria, Jordan, and Syria; Austria, Cyprus, Finland,
Greece, Italy, and Spain; and Japan and the Philippines.
-The Soviets appear to concentrate more on scholarships and
academic or professional exchanges and on getting their view-point
into local media than on films, trade fairs and exhibits,
cultural exhibits and presentations, and cultural centers or
-Although academic and cultural exchange are concentrated
in nations of Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and South
Asia, media propaganda programs are much more widespread.
The report also describes more specifically the book activities
administered by the Soviets in Sub-Saharan Africa.
-Soviet books abound at low cost in bookstores throughout
Africa. Many are translated into English or French and some
into an African vernacular. Translated editions usually are produced
in the USSR; few translations are published locally elsewhere.
The books generally deal with Communist ideology,
scientific and technical subjects, life and the arts in the USSR,
and children's interests. Some books in Russian are distributed
in Africa, usually for language-teaching purposes.
-Soviet book distributors have concentrated their efforts on
university bookstores, taking advantage of the scarcity and
high cost of textbooks from the West. Soviet book donations to
university, secondary school, and public libraries and to government
offices are usually generous and frequent. Libraries
at Soviet cultural centers, notably in Ghana, tend to give books
away free. In many countries, local Communist party organizations
give Soviet books freely to radically inclined students and
Soviet media-related activity, such as press releases and periodical
and book distribution, is by far the greatest in India.
-Large numbers of pro-Soviet newspapers and magazines are
circulated in India. Fifty publications are put out by the Communist
party of India alone.
-The Soviet foreign-trade organization Mezhdunarodnaia
Kniga ("International Books") manages an extensive distribution
system for the import and sales of Soviet publications.
Books are inexpensive, indicating a large Soviet subsidy. Along
with Soviet periodicals, they are sold chiefly in the many Communist-owned
or sponsored bookstores. (People's Publishing
House, for example, has a network of bookstores that covers all
major cities and many towns.) Over five hundred Soviet book
titles are imported annually, and about one hundred translations
of Soviet books into Indian languages are published each
-Twenty-three Soviet periodicals (mostly in English) are sent
to subscribers and other recipients in India through USSR
Information Offices. Circulation figures are sizable-80,000 for
Soviet Woman, 75,000 for New Times. In addition, the Soviet
Embassy's Information Department publishes seven periodicals in
forty-nine editions, including English- and twelve vernacular-language
editions. Their combined print run in 1978
exceeded twenty million copies.
The Soviets also maintain a high level of activity in Latin
-Soviet books and pamphlets are readily available to those
who want them, at least in the capital cities. Most outlets are
private bookstores, usually located near universities. Communist
and revolutionary parties frequently run their own book-stores.
For example, in Peru there are two or three chains of
bookstores run by the Peruvian Communist party. Mexico
shows the most striking pattern of book distribution, with six
bookstores selling Soviet books, plus many bookstands near
-There are twenty-nine Communist-front publishing houses,
two of which are directly funded by the Mexican Communist
As for the production of foreign-language books in the USSR,
two large houses share this assignment. Mir, whose name signifies
both "world" and "peace" in English, publishes books at all
levels in mathematics, science, and engineering. It produces
about 250 new titles per year, of which 80 to 90 are in English. In
recent years, the size of the English editions has been reported to
range from 15,000 copies for basic science or theoretical mathematics
to 50,000 to 100,000 copies for popular science books. We
have been unable to document annual printing figures for English-language
editions, but a reasonable estimate would be two
to three million copies.
The other foreign-langauge publishing house is Progress, a
word signifying the same in English as in Russian. It specializes
in social science and literary works and publishes from 140 to 160
books in English each year. Its printings are reported to be much
larger than those of Mir, and most are produced to fill direct
orders from Mezhdunarodnaia Kniga. It also copublishes many
English-language editions with Communist-oriented houses in
the "sister socialist" Soviet bloc countries and in several other
countries as well. Again, we have no recent reports on total annual
printings, but it seems safe to estimate the aggregate of
Progress to be at least four to five million copies per year of
English editions alone.
In comparing the export of Soviet cultural, educational, and
political publications with that of the United States or of any
other Western democracy, one should keep in mind several important
-The USSR bureaucratic publishing complex operated by
Goskomizdat (the State Committee for Publishing, Printing,
and the Book Trade, which controls some 137 publishing
houses) represents the total output of Soviet books and periodicals.
There are no private-sector efforts by commercial publishers,
by educational institutions, by professional societies,
by trade associations, or by foundations or other philanthropic
agencies. Hence, government-to-government comparisons are
not valid, even though they do imply measures of national values
-A large proportion of the English-language books produced
by the Soviets are used for instruction in their schools and
universities. English is required as a second or third language
in all secondary and tertiary educational institutions in every
Soviet republic, and students often buy their own English
texts and reference books. We have been unable to get a reliable
fix on the division between home-use and export of their
annual English-language book production, but it stands to reason
that home consumption must be quite high-perhaps as
high as 50 percent.
-The English-language books produced by Mir and Progress
are officially priced at 20 to 40 percent of the prices of counterpart
U.S. or British books. Generally, Soviet books are smaller
and decidedly inferior in physical quality, but this seems to
matter little to the masses of low-income book buyers in less
-Mezhdunarodnaia Kniga accepts payments in almost any cur-
rency of the world, soft or hard. To be sure, exchange rates are
arbitrarily fixed by the USSR, and they customarily are fixed
in favor of other communist or socialist countries. The same
can be said of terms for credit. Naturally, these factors give the
Soviet books a big competitive edge over U.S. books, particularly
in Third World countries where U.S. foreign policies and
commercial interests are rapidly losing ground.
Great Britain. The principal agency for promoting the sale and
use of British books and periodicals overseas is the British Council,
which has functioned continuously and effectively since 1934.
It is purely a cultural body, an independent government-financed
agency, comparable with the B.B.C. Its purpose is stated formally
and simply: "The aim of the British Council is to promote
an enduring understanding and appreciation of Britain in other
countries through cultural, educational and technical cooperation."
The council's eleven programs are guided by continuing private-sector
committees, including those for Publishing, Libraries,
and English Teaching. Fourteen offices are maintained in the
U.K., and eighty offices or operating agencies are located in foreign
countries. For fiscal 1982-83, its operating budget was £77.9
million, and it was scheduled to spend £64.2 million of promotional
funds provided by other government agencies, mainly by
the Overseas Development Agency. Thus, a combined expense
budget of £142.1 million was projected for the year.
To knowledgeable outside observers, all the British Council's
funds appear to be wisely and well spent. Its programs have solid
continuity of planning and management by professionals who are
experienced in their assignments. There are no stop-and-go programs
and no rapid turnover of political appointees at top executive
positions, either at home or abroad. Small wonder, then, that
the work of the council goes smoothly and wins favor throughout
the world, even in certain countries where the British presence
may not be generally welcome.
Following are a few pertinent examples of the council's activi-
ties in 1981-82.
-1.7 million books, 8,500 periodicals, and 20,000 films were
held in council libraries overseas.
-4.3 million books were produced by the council or with its
-272 exhibits of 77,000 books and 3,300 periodicals were sent
to seventy-one countries.
-2,200 books were sent for review to specialized journals in
thirty overseas countries.
-£1.2 million was spent on book presentations to 805 educational
and cultural institutions in ninety-nine developing countries.
-Sixty-four advisers and consultants on British books and libraries
were sent on overseas missions.
-163,400 students studied various British-oriented courses at
council centers in twenty-nine countries.
-A far larger number of students (263,400) learned English as
a second language with council help, either direct or indirect,
either in the U.K. or abroad; and over fifteen hundred teachers
of English and advisers on methods of teaching English
worked overseas during the year.
-The council offered a total of seventeen different courses in
English-language teaching, ranging from the simplest of vocational
courses to advanced technical courses. Special courses
were given for teachers of English from Algeria, France, the
Netherlands (two courses), Portugal, Turkey, and the Soviet
Union (two courses). Naturally, all this teaching and learning is
of English-English, not American-English-a matter of more
than surface importance, especially in commerce and industry.
These and other similar cultural and educational activities
were carried out by a staff of 3,908, of which 1,434 worked in
Britain and 2,474 worked overseas. Considering its organizational
stability, its operating policies, its financial resources, and the
size and professional competence of its staff, one can readily see
why many knowledgeable observers on our side of the Atlantic
consider the British Council to be a model national organization
for its kind of mission.
Two additional organizations support the promotion of British
books overseas, though on a much smaller scale.
The Government Board of Trade gives grants for assisting specialized
exhibits and promotional missions that encourage exports
to target countries all over the world. These grants usually cover
the expense of travel fares only, but not living expenses abroad.
Such grants are made to individual participants, whose purpose
and performance are strictly monitored. An exhibit has to be
certified by a trade association or professional society, and an
audit-report must be given after the exhibit is held. For example,
all British publishers who exhibit at the Frankfurt Book Fair
receive Board of Trade grants, but each has to report the value of
business transacted there before allowable expense is reim-
The Book Development Council (B.D.C.) is in effect a division of
the Publishers Association (P.A.). It has a full-time director and a
small staff who work closely with the British Council and the
Board of Trade. (In addition, two full-time officers of the P.A.
work almost exclusively for the B.D.C.) The work of the council is
organized by a number of regional committees consisting of publishers
who are experts in exporting books to particular countries.
All work to help their members with day-to-day export
problems; they are particularly concerned with controlling credit
and currency exchange matters.
There appear to be several reasons why the British are willing
to spend so much money and effort on promoting the sale and
use of their publications overseas. First, they value their culture
and their political institutions very highly, and they consider their
books and periodicals to be very effective ambassadors of enlightenment
and goodwill to the rest of the world. Second, they have
historically had an "export or die" economy; hence they have
traditionally exported annually from 40 to 50 percent of their
publications. Third, British publishers for many years have
worked together selflessly and devotedly for the good of their
industry and the general benefit of their common product "the
British book," of which they are unanimously and justly proud.
Further, British publishers as a rule perceive no cleavage between
"literary" books and "non-literary" (or "non-book") books.
They publish all kinds with equal enthusiasm and without the
fastidious distinctions that are observed by the U.S. book industry.
Perhaps the British attitude reflects the influence of their
ancient and prestigious university presses, Cambridge and Oxford.
To them a book is a book, and each kind of book has its place
and value. Fourth, private-sector interests and government agencies
have also worked together for years in remarkably close
harmony and with clear understanding of mutual interests and
Fresh evidence of the willingness of the British government
to work closely with the country's book industry was given recently
by the organization of an informal "All-Party Parliamentary
Committee on Publishing." Formed at the instigation of Alexander
Macmillan, chairman of Macmillan, Ltd., and Clive
Bradley, chief executive of the Publishers Association, the com-
mittee proposes to give the book trade "a voice in Parliament," according to a report in the January 29, 1983, issue of the Bookseller. Ted Rowlands, a prominent Labour member, chairs the committee, and three other M.P.'s serve as deputy chairmen and secretary. More than thirty additional members pledge their support on the day of the committee's organization. According to the Bookseller report, the new group would sometimes be asked to "act as firefighters, to ask questions, to 'bully' Ministers, and help paper over the cracks which can exist between Government departments, and make sure that our problems do not disappear down the drain."
Canada. Considering the size of the Canadian book industry and how much of it is controlled by U.S. and U.K. interests, the Canadian government is very liberal in supporting the industry at home and in promoting its books and authors abroad. This governmental assistance is available mainly to wholly owned or majority-owned Canadian houses, or to individual authors and editors of books that "increase public knowledge and appreciation of Canadian writing." These limitations appear to be inspired by a spirit of nationalism, yet they clearly carry a heavy freight of both cultural and commercial protectionism. Some outside observers have charged that this exclusionary policy smacks of provincialism, even chauvinism; others concede that it is justified on both cultural and commercial grounds. In any case, the policy and its effect have caused some regrettable divisions between the "pure" Canadian houses and the foreign-owned or controlled houses, of which some of the latter have long been domiciled Canadian corporations and are now among the larger publishers of Canadian authors.
The largest intrument of government assistance to publishers and authors is the Canada Council, established in 1957 and patterned, somewhat loosely, on the British Council. It is headed by a twenty-one-member "public interest" board, appointed by the government, as are its director and assistant director. The council reports to Parliament through the minister of communications and is called upon from time to time to appear before parliamentary committes, particularly the House of Commons Standing Committee on Communications and Culture.
Annual block grants from Parliament are the council's main source of funds, but such grants are supplemented by income from a $50 million endowment fund established by Parliament in 1957. The council also received substantial amounts in private
donations, usually for specific programs.
Several substantial assistance programs are currently financed
and administered by the council. The given fundings were
for fiscal 1981-82.
-Block grants to individual publishing houses for general
support during the preceding calendar year. Over one hundred
such grants were made, twenty-one of them for $25,000 to
-Grants to subsidize publication of approved manuscripts.
Twenty-one grants were made, ranging from $900 to $16,500.
-Grants for translation of books by Canadian authors into a
foreign language other than French. Twenty-five individual
grants, ranging from $200 to $23,500.
-Grants to writers and publishers' associations for general
book promotion. Twenty-four grants, of which six went to publishers
in a total amount of $890,000.
-Grants to "pure" Canadian publishers' associations for general
operating expense and for special projects, conferences,
and annual meetings. Three grants totaling $149,000.
-Grants to publishers for expenses of promotional tours
abroad. Forty grants, ranging from $170 to $20,600, in support
of some 120 individual "tourists."
-Grants for the purchase of books by Canadian authors for
free distribution at home and abroad by the Association of
Canadian Publishers and the Association des editeurs canadiens.
Books at wholesale value of more than $300,000 were
bought from 124 majority Canadian-owned houses.
-Grants in support of the annual Canadian National Book
Festival. Four grants for different purposes, totaling $265,000.
-Grants to finance public readings by Canadian authors in
Canada and in the United States. Approximately four hundred
grants totaling no less than $500,000.
In addition to the Canada Council's wide array of assistance
programs, several government agencies directly finance and administer
specialized programs for the promotion of Canadian
The Department of Communications financed two programs that
are managed by the Department of Industry, Trade and Commerce.
One is the Association for the Export of Canadian Books,
which pays from 25 to 57 percent of publishers' costs (not above
$15,000 for each house) for mailing catalogs, for free sample cop-
ies of textbooks, for space advertising, and so on. The other program
finances one half of approved publishers' expenses of attending
certain international book fairs for the purpose of selling
republication rights. The latter department also helps to finance
special projects for the professional development of publishers
who are doing business in export markets. Neither of these programs
is related to ownership.
The Department of Industry, Trade and Commerce directly finances
a program called Export Market Development. It shares
the costs of Canadian publishers' trade exploratory trips, of exhibits
at international trade fairs, of identification of new markets,
of incoming foreign buyers' expense, of organizing export
consortia, and so forth. For the period 1971-81, some $40 million
was spent in support of this program.
The Department of External Affairs purchases books and periodicals
for overseas book centers at Canadian embassies and for
schools in developing countries that are introducing new curricula
in English and French.
Given the foregoing compilation of evidence, who can doubt
that Canadians and their government have proper national pride
in their culture and proper appreciation of books as quintessential
expressions of the same.
>France. The French government has traditionally supported
comparatively modest programs for the benefit of overseas libraries
and book exports. Such support has been increased, predictably,
under the Mitterand government. The budget of the
Ministry of Culture (nearly 6 billion francs) was doubled in 1981,
and funding for the Book Division of the ministry was tripled in
that year. The fund for assistance of book export alone was increased
from 26 million to 40 million francs. Further increases
were made in 1982. Naturally, most of the available funds for
overseas promotion are spent on Francophone African countries.
The Ministry of Culture currently has thirty cultural centers,
plus seven branch centers, in thirty-five African countries. Each
center has a library with a French book collection ranging from
4,000 to 44,000 volumes. Several of these libraries maintain traveling
collections of fifty or more books that are alternated from
month to month.
Further, the Ministry of Culture, in collaboration with a num-
ber of private-sector organizations, presents books generously to
national, municipal, and school libraries in Africa; the total for
1980 was over one million volumes. Most were low-level books of a
practical or vocational nature.
The Ministry of Culture also supports a number of departments
or agencies for promoting commercial export of books. The
largest of these is the Office de Promotion de l'Edition Francaise
(OPEF), which serves as an industry-wide Book Export Council.
Members pay only a token membership fee, but they freely supply
much guidance and advice on the OPEF's various programs.
They organize and manage many general book exhibitions around
the world. They print and distribute catalogs, directories, and
news bulletins of the book trade. They also organize missions to
help in the development of indigenous book publishing in the
larger countries of Francophone Africa.
A similar but more specialized organization, the Association
Francaise pour la Diffusion du Livre Scientifique, Technique et
Medical (SODEXPORT), also is heavily financed by the Ministry
of Culture, as is a still more specialized agency for the promotion
of the export of law books (SPELD).
In addition, the Ministry of Culture helps certain individual
publishers by giving annual cash grants, on application, for specific
promotional schemes overseas. Such assists usually are for
promotional efforts in nontraditional markets or for exploratory
sales programs of a doubtful or experimental nature.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs finances an agency called the
Association pour la Diffusion de la Pensee Francaise, which helps
the publishing sections of officially organized trade missions to
other countries, such as the recent missions to Quebec and to
China, where the agency made outright purchases of books and
paid the costs of shipping the exhibits. Further, the Foreign Ministry
allows its embassies in African countries to make periodic
purchases of "suitable" French books for free distribution locally.
The Ministry of Cooperation has an active but rather modest
program that subsidizes the purchase or adaptation of French-language
textbooks for students in elementary and secondary
schools in the former French colonies of Sub-Saharan Africa.
The Ministry of Communications makes an important contribution
in allowing all book shipments overseas to go at half the
postal rates of other export shipments.
Finally, the Ministry of Foreign Trade, through its agency
Compagnie Franqaise d'Assurances pour le Commerce Exterieur
(COFACE), provides insurance at favorable rates for the security
of all book export sales.
In 1981, French book exports were 20 percent of total industry
sales. (In earlier years, the proportion was as high as 30
percent.) Considering the relatively small size of their export
markets and the very low level of purchasing power in most of
them, one has to conclude that the current French government is
both aggressive and liberal in its promotion of overseas dissemination
of its books and other cultural and educational materials.
West Germany. The West German book trade association (Borsenverein),
working with the Foreign Ministry, has devised a remarkably
simple and effective cooperative way to boost export
sales to certain neighboring countries that have special political
and commercial importance to the Federal Republic of Germany.
The "target" countries are Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and
Bulgaria. Under an arrangement with their Foreign Ministry, the
pubishers give extra discounts (which amount to price subsidies)
on sales to book dealers in those countries, and the costs of the
extra discounts are reimbursed by government payments made
through the trade association. The extra-discount allowances are
25 percent on sales to Poland and 15 percent on sales to the other
three countries. Thus, if Ars Polona, an official import agency in
Warsaw, orders a West German book on which the normal discount
is 25 percent, the sale is invoiced at 50 percent. A copy of
the invoice is sent to B6rsenverein, which periodically collects the
amounts due from the Foreign Ministry and makes payments to
individual publishers. The purpose of this quite simple arrangement
is, of course, to lower consumer prices and thus make the
purchase of West German books more attractive. West German
publishers report that this marketing strategy has worked
smoothly and economically and to the general satisfaction of all
concerned. Perhaps the Association of American Publishers and
our own State Department should try this German artifice as a
way to check the decline of U.S. book sales in certain Third World
countries that are of particular importance to us.
Deterrents to U.S. Book Exporting
It was stated at the outset that foreign markets are not easily
cultivated. In fact, all of them are difficult, and many of them-especially
those of developing countries-are as uninviting as
briar patches. Now, more specifically, exactly what are these
prickly deterrents that are so often encountered? And just where
are they the most frequently found?
In order to get well-informed answers to these questions, we
identified fourteen deterrents, or impediments, that were suggested
by a group of U.S. publishers who are experts at book
exporting. Then the largest twenty of our book exporting firms
were asked to rate the seriousness of each of the fourteen on a ten
point scale-ten points for the most serious, down to one point for
the least serious. Thus we derived an opinion poll that we hope is
based on thorough knowledge of the problem and as dependable
as possible. The results are presented below in rank order, together
with comments on the countries or areas where each deterrent
is considered to be a serious factor.
1. A general lack of hard-currency exchange; not enough to
import the essentials of life, much less books, which are considered
luxuries. All developing countries of South and Central
America, Southeast Asia, and most of Africa. India, Pakistan,
Burma, Argentina, and Nigeria were named as currently particular
problem countries. (Rated 8.0)
2. Official limitations placed on hard-currency exchange for
books and similar products; some exchanges available, but other
kinds of imports take precedence. Here China, Thailand, Nigeria,
Brazil, Chile, India, and the Philippines were named. (Rated 7.8)
3. Comparatively high prices of U.S. books. All developing
countries, including Southern Europe and certain Soviet bloc
countries. Egypt, Indonesia, and India were often singled out.
4. Slow pay or increased defaults of export accounts. Most
South American and Southern European countries were listed:
also Mexico, India, Pakistan, Nigeria, and Poland. (Rated 7.4)
5. Inadequate protection of copyright against large-scale piracy.
The principal offenders make a long list-Taiwan, Korea,
China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaya, Singapore, Philippines, India,
Pakistan, Nigeria, and several South American and Caribbean
countries. Obviously this is a serious problem that can be
remedied only by diplomatic action by the Department of State,
backed up by the Department of Commerce and the federal office
of the U.S. Trade Representative. Naturally, most publishers and
book exporting firms think their interests have been neglected
far too long by the responsible federal agencies. They feel that,
failing correction by adherence to an international copyright convention,
or by stronger police enforcement of the local copyright
laws, our government officials should press for simple bilateral
copyright treaties that will have force enough to command respect
and full compliance. They point to the USSR's final capitulation,
which came, seemingly, as a concomitant to the pursuit of
improved trade relations with the United States. (Rated 6.5)
6. High mark-up of U.S. list prices by many exporters, local
importers, and booksellers. This is a problem the world over-in
industrialized as well as developing countries. As noted earlier,
every successful importer must mark-up prices enough to cover
the costs of his importing and investment expense, yet many
foreign book buyers seem to feel that any mark-up at all is robbery
by a greedy middleman. And often enough the rate of mark-up
does border on robbery-of a customary and reasonable sort,
to be sure. The crux of the matter, of course, is how much mark-up
is justified in a given area. And here is where opposite interests
and sympathies frequently clash shrilly. And double trouble
frequently occurs when retail booksellers put a stiff mark-up on
top of that of the importer. In some developing countries, the
double marked-up price is 50 percent, or even 100 percent, above
the U.S. list when the book appears on the retailer's shelf. But
this seems not to disturb many booksellers who cater only to the
"carriage trade" A few high-priced sales will enable them to keep
shop only half the day. How can a U.S. exporter of the greatest
wisdom and goodwill change the nature of an indifferent or indolent
bookseller in Bangkok or Bolivia? (Rated 6.0)
7. Failure to allocate sufficient public funds for purchase of
books and other cultural materials. This is a well-known endemic
failure of all underdeveloped countries, and of some that are quite
prosperous. (One of our respondents even listed the United
States!) In many countries it appears to be a case not of "guns or
butter" but of "guns or education and culture." Clearly, it is a
problem for which only local political solutions can be found.
8. Imposition of duty or other forms of impost on importation
of books and similar products. Several Latin American and
Middle East countries, plus Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia,
Egypt, Nigeria, and South Africa, appear to be the biggest offenders
in contributing to what is, of course, a local deterrent.
The importers must pay the duty, and this adds to the prices of-
and increases buyer resistance to-most types of books. Many
countries prohibit import duty on books by their adherence to the
UNESCO treaty known as "The Florence Agreement," but some
of them fudge this agreement by imposing an "added-value" tax
or some other form of impost on landed goods. (Rated 4.8)
9. The use in tertiary education of lecture notes "cribbed"
from U.S. books. This is a traditional practice in several areas of
the world, notably Latin America, Southeast Asia, and the Middle
East. In each it has substantially crimped the sale of printed
texts and reference books. The notes usually are duplicated by
the lectures and sold directly to their students, often at prices
that are higher than those of available standard textbooks. And in
many universities of developing countries, it is readily admitted
that students who can afford to buy the lecture notes have a much
better chance of receiving higher marks. Publishers cannot object
to this teaching method because it is, of course, an inheritance
from the classical method of European education. They can
rightly object to the flouting of copyright protection, however, but
this usually is not effective. In fact, many Third World educators
depend on the sale of their lecture notes as a professional prerogative
that provides a sustaining portion of their income. So, for
this deterrent, most exporting publishers wisely "grin and bear
it." (Rated 4.1)
10. Taxation or other imposts on profits earned locally by
U.S. exporters, or on the transfer (repatriation) of earned surpluses.
In a few countries, the rate of taxation of locally earned
profits (or of the repatriation of earned surplus by externally
owned minority interests) is so high as to discourage foreign investment
in developmental projects. India is the chief offender in
this respect; its taxation is 50 percent of operating profits. Other
countries that have onerous rates of taxes on the export of profits
are Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina. Naturally, the governments of
these countries argue that they need the income, and that their
tax reduces the amount of U.S. tax paid. Nonetheless, the psycho-
logical factor is powerfully negative in the minds of U.S. publishers. (Rated 3.8)
11. Extralegal expense of undercover payments to custom
officials, dock foremen, forwarding agents, et al., used to speed
up import shipments. Making such payments is customary, even
necessary, in most Latin American countries, in many Asian
countries, and in some African countries. Without these payments
("Backsheesh"), incoming shipments can lie on docks or in
custom's warehouses for weeks on end. (Rated 3.5)
12. Increased competition from English-language books
from other countries, notably Great Britain, West Germany,
Canada, France, and the Scandinavian countries. Although such
competitive books have increased rapidly over the past decade (as
noted in Part 4), they have not yet become a major factor except
at the advanced levels of scientific, technical, medical, and industrial
treatises and monographs. But even here the increased competition
has a special importance, because U.S. publishers of such
books had come to count on exports for 50 percent or more of
their total sales. Faced with further competitive losses of overseas
sales, U.S. publishers (and authors) may see their production
of such books sharply diminished in the future. (Rated 3.3)
13. Increased competition from audiovisual materials and
computer-based information and informational systems. There
is no such competition in any developing countries; and some, but
of no great consequence, in Northern European countries. These
modes as replacements of books appear to be causing publishers
very little loss of sleep-as yet, anyhow. (Rated 2.6)
14. Increased national disaffection or hostility to U.S. products.
Only Iran and a few Latin American countries were listed as
places where this factor had any importance at all. (Rated 1.9)
Judging by the frequency of "specific mention" of countries or
areas that are currently the more difficult for U.S. exporters,
three general areas led by expected margins: South America (17
mentions); Sub-Saharan Africa (12 mentions); and North Africa
(11 mentions). Countries singled out as offering current obstacles
most frequently were: India (14 times), Nigeria (13), Pakistan (11),
Indonesia (9), Mexico (8), and Egypt (7). At the lowest end, Poland
and the Dominican Republic were each mentioned twice, and
It would be unreasonable to expect that any of the foregoing
fourteen deterrents will disappear in the near future. Rather, it
appears that some of them will become more onerus until world
economic conditions have improved and the widened gap between
"have" and "have-not" nations has been somewhat reduced.
Meanwhile, it is clear that both the U.S. book industry and certain
U.S. government agencies should quicken their efforts toward
improvements whenever and wherever opportunities
Is It, Anyway?
Before discussing the question of responsibility for the welfare of the U.S. book abroad, we should review some of the many basic values and uses of the book in a civilized society-with special reference to Third World countries. (This litany is very familiar, of course, to book publishers and librarians; it will be obvious, surely, to many other readers.)
To put it broadly, U.S. books serve developing countries in several ways: they stimulate and guide the development of natural resources; they assist basically in the development of human resources; they foster better understanding of our beliefs, faiths, institutions, enterprises, and modes of living in our vastly heterogeneous society; they cultivate the intellect, the spirit, the creativity, and the innate yearning of every individual for freedom and opportunity to improve his or her way of life and give it more meaning.
To put it from the U.S. point of view (that is, narrowly and less loftily), the export of our books has various values to several discrete segments of our society:
-To authors, they are the products of their talent and hard-won skill, of their gifted imagination and their special knowledge, even of their blood, sweat, and tears. Naturally, most authors want the world to share the value of their inspired and highly toilsome creations.
-To editors, publishers, and booksellers, they are products to be perfected and manufactured, then sold as widely as possible. As explained earlier, overseas sales added to domestic sales substantially reduce unit costs and prices of many kinds of books. Indeed, without the prospect of sizable export sales, many very valuable specialized books could not be published at all.
-To businessmen, industrialists, and financiers, they condition overseas markets and increase exports of U.S. products and services. This is the manifestation of the classical trade-fol-
lows-the-book credo. Further, for most multinational corporations
and traders, books serve as invaluable tools for indoctrination
and training of the vast indigenous personnel required
for overseas operations.
-To transportation companies, travel agencies, and international
hotel operators, they serve as indispensable directories
and guides on where to go, where to stay, what to see, and
what to buy abroad. Thus books stimulate tourism and help to
increase both domestic and foreign income and profits.
-To research scientists and professional practitioners, they
are essential conduits for international exchanges of problems,
methods, discoveries, and solutions. Here books serve universally
to help break down even the strongest barriers to international
cooperation and goodwill.
-To engineers, architects, and construction firms, they often
are precursors to the winning of overseas contracts; and overseas
contracts usually result in the specification and purchase
of U.S. materials, machines, and operating equipment.
-To educators they help to qualify thousands of the better
foreign students for graduate study and research in the United
Now, to the foregoing list of private-sector benefits, one can
add several categories of governmental benefits that are derived,
either directly or indirectly, from the sale and use of U.S. books in
Third World countries:
-They smooth the path for the pursuit of our foreign policies.
It has been said often that next to people, books are our best
ambassadors of international enlightenment and goodwill. This
is especially true of the U.S. textbooks and professional books
that are studied abroad by university students and other
young intellectuals. In most Third World countries, the revolutionaries
of today are leaders of tomorrow, and the political
power of young readers can be ignored by a government only
at its own peril. Hence, in such countries U.S. books-and especially
U.S. textbooks at university level-are directed to the
hands of young men and women who are vital to both the
future of their country and the future of relations between
their country and ours. This is, to be sure, the thought that
F.D.R. had in mind when he declared, "Books are bullets in the
battle for men's minds."
-They serve importantly, as noted above, in the development
of natural and human resources of all Third World countries.
Thus they will help, indirectly and eventually, to relieve our
government of much of its perenially heavy burden of foreign
-They help in the same way to relieve the severe imbalances
of trade with the United States and thus alleviate the paralyzing
shortages of hard currency in most Third World countries.
-They are the best and most portable evidence of the cultural
achievements of the United States. This is obvious, but the
need abroad for more knowledge and better appreciation of
American arts and letters is not as obvious as it should be to
many U.S. citizens. Our political competitors and detractors
strive constantly to build up an image of the United States as a
nation of materialistic, money-mad, ruthless "Yankee Traders"
who have little or no regard for the finer things of life. Books
and more books are, of course, the best available antidote for
this denigrating propaganda. Anyone who has traveled widely
abroad knows that it would be a mistake to underestimate the
critical nature of this particular international battlefield of ideology
and political power.
A highly important general value of the exported U.S. book is
neither so evident nor so tangible as those just described. This is
its influence in maintaining English as the lingua franca of most of
the world. It would be difficult to exaggerate the importance of
having and keeping English as the international language of education,
science, industry, and commerce, or to exaggerate the
power of our books in keeping it so. Here again, there is far too
little public appreciation of this fundamental, far-reaching value.
Finally, it should be noted that, in the end, a book costs less,
lasts longer, and penetrates more deeply than any other means of
international communication of information and ideas. In all Third
World countries a book usually passes through the hands of ten or
twenty readers, or even more. Indeed, certain kinds of books are
handed down from generation to generation. The problem usually
clearly comes with the ubiquitous first obstacle-the high price of
the original purchase.
Yet, despite all the contrary evidence and arguments that
have been cited over and over again, there still are many leaders
in both our government and our private sector who are convinced
that book exporting is no more than a commercial enterprise that
should be able to look after its own particular problems. Naturally,
book publishers and exporters look upon this view as being
not only uninformed and short-sighted but actually against the
best commercial, political, and humanitarian traditions of our
country. They know that, try as hard as they may, they cannot
possibly muster enough effort and resources of their own even to
begin to fill the yawning book gaps that exist in all Third World
nations of the world. They know, too, that several other industrialized
countries, our rivals for trade and goodwill, are now overtaking
our leadership in assisting developing countries to acquire
the kinds and amounts of books that meet their minimal needs.
Further, they know that thousands of other Americans with tangential
interests share their view and their present sense of anxiety and frustration.
So it all seems to boil down to a matter of educating public
opinion. Increased hundreds of opinion-makers and purse-string-holders
must be shown that the U.S. book abroad is far more than
an ordinary commercial commodity-that it is, in fact, in the van-guard
of all our battles to improve our nation's present position
and its future relations with all countries of the world. Then the
conglomerate of true-believers must be organized nationally for
effective action as promptly as possible. For it is truly a national
responsibility and can be met only by a truly national response.
The Future: A Suggested Plan
Now, what of the future-as far ahead as can be seen at the
moment? What can be done to check the faltering role of the U.S.
book in developing countries? And what of the "uncommitted"
Third World countries in particular?
It seems quite certain that, for the present, the challenge will
have to be met largely by private-sector initiative. Given the
current restrictions on nonmilitary federal spending, it is obvious
that new large-scale federal programs for overseas dissemination
of informational, educational, and cultural materials cannot be
expected in the immediate future.
So how can the private sector best mobilize interests and
forces to fill a need that is becoming a national embarrassment?
The best response, we believe, would be a coalition of the resources
and competence of the many, many private individuals
and organizations that have commercial or humanitarian interests
in maintaining a strong American presence in the developing
countries that need and welcome our aid. The organization of such
a coalition would be, without doubt, a large task. But surely it
would not be beyond accomplishment by a public-spirited band of
informed and dedicated leaders. We believe that this kind of leadership
can be mustered under the right kind of sponsorship.
Bolstered by the foregoing beliefs, we urge the creation of a
nationwide initiative in the form of a not-for-profit organization
under some such title as "National Coalition on Books for Developing
Countries" or "U.S. International Book Council." Membership
would be drawn by invitation to individuals, institutions,
professional societies, trade associations, and corporations (public
and private) that have demonstrable interests in the objectives of
the organization (henceforth referred to simply as TO). Initially,
an organizing committee of, say, twelve members would be
formed. It should represent in equal proportions U.S. authors,
publishers, government agencies, and nonbook commercial enterprises
that have large multinational operations. This committee
should be organized with the thought that it would become the
central executive committee when the operating stage was
reached. At that stage, TO would be formalized as a nonprofit,
pro bono publico corporation, and thereafter it would function
The organizing committee should also elect a board of directors
of some eighteen to twenty members for terms of four years
on a rotating basis. Thus the highly desired continuity of interest,
knowledge, and leadership would be ensured.
TO would be structured into divisions, perhaps as many as
twenty, each of which would represent a major kind or area of
international interest, and each of which would be free to initiate
and operate programs of its own with guidance and assistance
from a centralized professional staff. The following groupings are
suggested as examples of possible divisions:
1. Book publishers, booksellers, book exporters
2. Magazine and newspaper publishers
3. Broadcasting organizations and news agencies
4. Advertisers and advertising agencies
5. Retailing organizations
6. Manufacturers and manufacturing organizations
7. Extractive industries (oil, gas, chemicals)
8. Pharmaceutical manufacturers
9. Manufacturers of medical and hospital equipment
10. Mining, metals, and minerals
11. Food and food processing industries
12. Shipping and transportation
13. Travel agencies and associations
14. Hotels and hotel management chains
15. International sports organizations
16. International banking and finance
17. International accounting and auditing services
18. Educational associations and societies
19. Liquor and beverage producers and distributors
20. Ethnic, nationalist, and world-area promotional groups
21. Trade unions
22. Ecological and conservation groups
As to the permanent governance and management structure of
TO, the following is suggested:
-Top government by a board of directors of twenty persons, all
of whom have distinguished themselves and demonstrated interest
in a discrete sector of TO's general area of activity. The
members of the initial board would be appointed by the organizing
committee and elected annually thereafter by the full membership.
-An executive director appointed as the top operating officer
by the board.
-Two associate directors who would report to the executive
director and would each have responsibility for one of the two
groups of services described below.
-A business manager, who would also report to the executive
director and be responsible for such functions as budgeting,
accounting, payroll, personnel management, furnishing and
equipment, and other operational details that customarily are
handled by an office manager.
-All four operating officers would be supported by assistants
and staff that would be employed as needed.
The two groups of services to be managed by the two associate directors are:
1. Research, Planning, and Consultative Services. This
group would make contracted services available to government
agencies, to TO's divisional members, and to any other foundation,
institution, professional organization, corporation, or private
individual that needs information and guidance in investigating or
planning a noncommercial overseas book program. Also, it would
provide consulting service for monitoring the operations of new
services. For each instance of such contractual services, TO would
bring together a team of experts recruited from its constituency
or from private consultants. Further, this group would supply
advisory service on specialized ancillary activities such as setting
up seminars and workshops, organizing exhibits, preparing bibliographies
and selective book lists, selecting effective testing and
training materials, and organizing language-teaching programs,
with emphasis on English as a second language. Here again, TO's
function would be limited only to providing needed information
and guidance on available materials and outside professional com-
2. Program Management Services. These services would be
made available to the same clientele on a contractual basis for the
management of new or ongoing projects or programs in TO's
areas of interest. Here again, a competent management team
would be recruited for each job, and each contracted job would be
made self-supporting by including all its direct costs, plus a rate
of overhead expense to cover related general and administrative
services provided by TO. Similarly, TO would expand its staff and
facilities only in pace with the growth in number and size of its
contracted programs. Operating service functions would be subcontracted
whenever possible to professional organizations or
TO's initial funding and continuing financial support should
come from three sources: membership fees, private contributions,
and income from contracted services. Appropriate annual membership
fees (to be used for basic "institutional" support) might
begin at $100 for individual members and $1,000 for institutional
and corporate members. Foundations would be solicited for
grants adequate to cover start-up expenses for the first two or
Our very rough estimates place start-up and net operating
costs at a maximum of $400,000 for the first year, $600,000 for the
second year, $600,000 for the third year, and $200,000 each for the
fourth and fifth years. Thereafter, all costs would be covered
completely by contracted-services income and membership dues.
As to memberships and dues derived therefrom, it seems
reasonable that, given proper sponsorship and an active organizing
committee of prominent people, no fewer than 500 personal
memberships and 100 corporate or institutional memberships
could be enlisted in the first year, and these numbers should be
doubled in the second year. If so, dues income would be $150,000
for the first year, and $300,000 for the second year. Thus, $450,000
of the $1 million start-up costs would be derived from dues income.
If additional income of $50,000 could be realized from contracted
projects in the two years, a balance of $500,000 in foundation
or private grants would be needed. These are, to be sure,
large figures, but they are, we believe, realistic requirements for
mounting a significant private-sector initiative.
Further, it should be understood that the foregoing estimates
of required expense funding do not represent projected operating
budgets of TO. Rather, it would be expected that these funds
together with overhead income from contracted services might
amount to operating budgets as high as $5 million to $10 million
for the fourth or fifth year. This would depend, of course, on the
extent of the stimulated use of the service facilities, which in turn
would depend largely on the state of the national economy.
Now, a few concluding summary remarks about TO as it has
been conceptualized above:
-It should be organized by people who are convinced that its
mission is a national responsibility, not a responsibility of either
the government or the private sector alone. Without wide
recognition of this fact, it is unlikely that we shall be able to
check the diminishing distribution and influence of U.S. books
-It should function as closely as possible on the operating
pattern of the British Council. This means that it should avoid
political influence and socioeconomic bias. It should not undertake
the management of any program that is basically designed
for propaganda purposes, either overtly or covertly.
-Its divisional activities should follow the model set by Books
for Asia. In fact, that organization could serve as an ideal for
satellite divisional activities of TO.
-It should strive for stability and continuity in the management
of both its central and divisional programs. This operating
principle should apply especially to services performed for
the government. And it should always be wary of factional
political influences that often can obtrude in governmental programs.
-It should encourage programs that are designed to provide
developing countries with the kind of books that they themselves
want, not the kind that U.S. sponsors, either public or
private, think they need.
-For top administrators and middle-management personnel, it
should employ only seasoned professionals who have had overseas
experience or demonstrated technical competence. It
might well look first for such personnel among recently retired
publishers, editors, librarians, career diplomats, and education
specialists. The pool of competent and still vigorous retirees
grows larger each year.
-It should work closely with the British Council and the Canada
Council on common-interest objectives, and with the book-trade
associations of the two countries. It should work also
with the World Bank component units and with other intergovernmental
agencies that share TO's interests and objectives.
-Since proper timing is all-important to TO's prospect for success,
there should be no effort to make a formal start until the
U.S. economy has improved substantially and until the present
restrictions on nonmilitary federal spending have been further
relaxed. For the successful start of a national venture of the
size that we have recommended, the morale of both government
budgeters and private-sector leaders needs to be considerably
higher than it is at the moment. Yet the United States
cannot afford to neglect its faltering position much longer. Decisions
must soon be made on whether the cause will be won or
Meanwhile, if the question of timing should be deemed too
uncertain, it would be wise to form a smaller ad hoc committee for
the purpose of organizing and funding a study of the feasibility of
TO as a national initiative along the lines here proposed. This
would not be a very large, or costly, or time-consuming research
task, and it would be at least a tentative step in the right direction.
A great deal of the information presented in this study was taken
from sources that are not generally available to the public: the
author's personal experience; notes on his interviews with others;
unpublished memoranda and reports (private, corporate, institutional,
governmental); and, in a few instances, confidential facts
and figures that cannot be identified. Hence, the specificity of
conventional footnotes or end notes has been avoided as these
would be useless or equivocal in most instances. Some readers,
however, may be interested in the following selected list of publicly
available information sources that were consulted as the
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Oxford University Press, 1975.
Association of American Publishers. Industry Statistics. New
The Asia Foundation. The President's Review: 1981 Annual
Report. San Francisco: Asia Foundation, 1982.
Barker, Ronald, ed. The Book Trade in the USSR: Report of a
Delegation of British Publishers, 1964. London: The Publishers Association, 1964.
Barker, Ronald, and Robert Escarpit, eds. The Book Hunger.
(Paris): UNESCO, 1973.
BCMA Associates, Inc. Relationships among the National
Institute of Education, Federally-Funded Educational Research
and Development Agencies, and Commercial Publishers.
New York: BCMA Associates, 1977.
Benjamin, Curtis G. International Publishing Becomes
Multinational Publishing. York, Pa.: The Maple Press
Benjamin, Curtis G., ed. Books for Developing Countries: A
Guide for Enlisting Private-Industry Assistance, New
York: Franklin Book Programs, 1969.
Benjamin, Curtis G., and W. Bradford Wiley, eds. Book Publishing
in the USSR: Reports of the Delegations of U.S.
Book Publishers 1962 and 1970. Cambridge: Harvard Uni-
versity Press, 1971.
The British Council. Annual Report 1981-1982. London: Her
Majesty's Stationery Office, 1982.
The Canada Council, Writing and Publishing Section. Programs
in Writing and Publishing. Ottawa: The Canada
Government of Canada, Department of Industry, Trade and
Commerce. Program for Export Market Development. Ottawa, 1982.
Cole, John Y., ed. The International Flow of Information: A
Trans-Pacific Perspective. Washington: Library of Congress, 1981.
Cole, John Y., ed. U.S. International Book Programs 1981.
Washington: Library of Congress, 1982.
Dessauer, John P., ed. Book Industry Trends 1982. New York:
Book Industry Study Group, Inc., 1982.
ESDUCK. Goals and Achievements. Cairo: The Egyptian Society
for the Dissemination of Universal Culture and Knowledge, 1980.
International Publishers Association. IPA Publishing News:
Regulation of Book Imports. No. 88. Geneva, 1981.
Krishnan, T.V.K., ed. Book Development: Some Current
Problems. New Delhi: Dina N. Malhorta Publisher, 1969.
Lottman, Herbert R. "The Soviet Way of Publishing." Publishers
Weekly, September 18, 1978.
Machill, Horst. Buch und Buchhandel in Zahlem. Frankfurt
am Main: Buchhandler-Vereiningung, 1982.
The National Enquiry into Scholarly Communications. Scholarly
Publishing: The Report. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 1979.
Neumann, Peter H. Publishing for Schools: Textbooks and
the Less Developed Countries. Washington: World Bank, 1980.
Neumann, Peter H., and Maureen A. Cunningham, eds. Mexico's
Free Textbooks: Nationalism and the Urgency to Educate.
Washington: World Bank, 1982.
Russak, Ben. Scholarly Publishing in Western Europe and
Great Britain. The Annals of the American Academy of
Political and Social Science, September 1975.
Smith, Datus C., Jr., American Books in the Non-Western
World: Some Moral Issues. New York: New York Public
Smith, Datus C., Jr. The Economics of Book Publishing in
Developing Countries. Paris: UNESCO, 1977.
Sullivan, George, ed. A Reason to Read: An International
Symposium on the Promotion of the Reading Habit. New
York: UNESCO, 1976.
Tebbel, John. A History of Book Publishing in the United
States. Vol. 4 (1940-1980). New York: R.R. Bowker, 1981.
United Nations Department of International Economic and
Social Affairs. World Economic Survey 1981-1982. New
York: United Nations, 1982.
UNESCO. Statistical Yearbook 1981. New York: Unipub,
U.S. Copyright Office. Copyright Law of the United States of
America. Washington: Library of Congress, 1969.
U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations. Hearings on Public
Law 480. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1959,
1960, 1961, 1962, 1963.
U.S. Treasury Department, Bureau of Governmental Financial
Operations. Foreign Currencies Held by the U.S. Government
1981-1982. Washington: Treasury Department,
USIA BOOK PROMOTION AND
Serious American books in English or in translation on themes of concern to
USIA are essential to the agency's mission in public diplomacy. Books have unique
qualities enabling them to provide foreigners substantive perceptions and insight
into American society and government policies which they can get in no other way.
Today, such books face a major challenge abroad. Their distribution and readership
have declined steadily in the Third World for many years while there is
evidence that other nations, including the USSR, have increased significantly the
distribution of their books and, thereby, their philosophies.
The agency will promote significantly increased publication and distribution
abroad of books in translation and in English which support or help explain our
foreign policy, our institutions, and fundamental American values. These books
are intended for use in USIA programs, in our libraries, at appropriate foreign
institutions, and for sale to individuals interested in the United States.
A special effort will be made to identify and promote those books which are
significantly relevant to current issues in international affairs and to immediate
USIA policy and programming objectives. Various approaches will be used, They
include a thorough survey of American books published by U.S. and foreign publishers
and their acquisition for use in USIA programming; the promotion of titles
selected by USIA for translation by foreign publishers (usually supported through
guaranteed purchase of a certain number of copies for USIA); the direct publication
by USIA of important titles unavailable from other sources; the assemblage
of book exhibits on appropriate themes; and diligent efforts to encourage donations
of relevant books from the American publishing industry for use with appropriate
institutions and individuals abroad.
Agency policy also calls for increased cooperation with the American publishing
industry in an effort to improve the general distribution of American books
abroad, particularly those relevant to agency objectives.
THE UNITED NATIONS ROSTER OF
In a publication entitled Towards a World Economy That Works (1980), the
United Nations classified 118 of its members as "developing" countries. It was
explained that the classification was made "by broad descriptions, not definitions."
In this context, it was further noted, "... 'developing' and 'developed' refer to the
level of industrialization of countries and to a number of other indicators, including
the level of Gross National Product, and the structural diversification of the
economy." The subjoined official roster was produced under those guidelines. It is
a melange that defies definitional use in the present study, but the number and the
disparity of the nations included certainly are significant.
|Central African Republic
|Central African Republic
||Lao People's Democratic Republic
||Libyan Arab Jamahiriya
|Democratic People's Republic of Korea
||Syrian Arab Republic
Papua New Guinea
||Trinidad and Tobago
|Republic of Korea
||United Arab Emirates
||United Republic of Cameroon
||United Republic of Tanzania
|Sao Tome and Principe
EXPORT OF U.S. BOOKS BY TYPES
(Data extracted from BISG Annual "Trends")
Note: The types of book follow the classification used in the statistical reports
issued annually by the Association of American Publishers.
INFORMATIONAL MEDIA GUARANTEE PROGRAM
Inception to October 31, 1968
JOINT INDO-AMERICAN TEXTBOOK PROGRAM
Number of Editions and Copies Produced (1962-81)
Note: The sudden drop in production in FY 71 was due to the temporary curtailment
of the P.L.-480 Textbook Program by the government of India at the time of
the Pak-Indo War.
Three full-time American Book Program officers administered the program
during its first ten years (FY 62-72); since FY 72 it has been under the general
direction of the USIS librarian.
Some residual AID funds from the third "tranche" were utilized in FY 75,
accounting for the sharp increase in textbooks published during that year
PUBLISHING PROGRAM, 1951-1980
*P.L. 480 Textbooks, primarily in English and in India, were financed by foreign
currency generated from the sale of agricultural products.
**Low-Priced Book Programs produced for export sales through commercial
THE ASIA FOUNDATION
Distribution of Books and Journals
by Countries (1954-1981)
THE AD HOC ADVISORY COMMITTEE
This study, commissioned by the Center for the Book, was prepared with help
from many members of the center's national advisory board. Listed here are
members of the ad hoc committee formed to serve as advisers for this project. Its
members are from the advisory board of the Center for the Book, the Association
of American Publishers, and the U.S. Information Agency.
Leo N. Albert, Chairman
Chairman of the Board, Prentice-Hall International, Inc.
Saundra L. Smith, Secretary
Director, International Division
Association of American Publishers, Inc.
Robert E. Baensch
McGraw-Hill International Book Co.
Pierre B. Balliett
Vice President, Houghton Mifflin Co.
Director, International Division,
Houghton Mifflin Co.
John L. Beauchamp
Director, International Department
Random House, Inc.
Simon Michael Bessie
Director, Harper & Row, Inc.
Alexander J. Burke, Jr.
President, McGraw-Hill International Book Co.
Nicholas G. Chantiles
Vice President, International
Times-Mirror Book Co., Inc.
Paul E. Feffer
President, Feffer & Simons, Inc.
Chairman, International Division
Association of American Publishers, Inc.
W. Gordon Graham
Chairman & CEO, Butterworth Publishers, Ltd.
Kenneth Thurston Hurst
Ex-President, Prentice-Hall International, Inc.
Senior Vice President, McGraw-Hill, Inc.
Donald E. McNeil
Chief, Book Programs Division
U.S. Information Agency
Andrew H. Neilly, Jr.
Chairman & CEO, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Peter H. Neumann
President, Peter Neumann Associates, Inc.
Curtis G. Benjamin, a major force at McGraw-Hill and in the
publishing world for more than fifty years, completed this volume
shortly before his death in November 1983 at the age of eighty-two.
An informed spokesman for the U.S. book-publishing industry,
he was also an effective promoter of multinational publishing
and American book-exporting programs. His energy, innovative
ideas, and contribution to American publishing were recognized
in 1975 when his colleagues established the Curtis G. Benjamin
Award for Creative Publishing, which is sponsored by the Association
of American Publishers.
In 1952 Curtis Benjamin was elected director of the American
Book Publishers Council and of the American Textbook Publishers
Institute, two organizations which merged in 1970 to form
the Association of American Publishers. "Uncle Ben," as he was
affectionately known throughout the community of the book,
served as chairman of the Book Industry Joint Committee on
Copyright, 1959-65, 1971-72, and was chairman of the U.S. Book
Publishers' Delegation to the USSR for the State Department in
1962. He served on numerous other committees and commissions,
among them the Government Advisory Committee on International
Book and Library Programs (chairman, 1962-64), the Science
Information Council of the National Science Foundation
(1959-60, 1964-67), the Asian Book Development Seminars in
New Delhi and Singapore (cochairman, 1969), and the Ditchley
Foundation Conference of Anglo-American Book Publishers
In 1962 the McGraw-Hill Book Company, which under Curtis
Benjamin's leadership had extended original publishing to fifteen
countries, received the first "E" award for excellence in book
export development. After his retirement in 1966, Curtis Benjamin
continued to serve as an adviser for the book-publishing
industry, especially in promoting the international interests of
books. Ever eager to learn, he gathered firsthand information
about book publishing and distribution through travel in fifty-four
countries around the world throughout his long career.