Monday, September 3, 2018

Ukrainian Publishers Now Beating Russian Ones in Bringing Out Translations of Books from the West, Vivat Head Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, September 2 – Since 2014, there have been remarkable changes in the book publishing industry in Ukraine, Yuliya Orlova, publisher of Kharikiv’s Vivat House says. It is now bringing out translations of books from the West more rapidly than are Russian ones and overwhelmingly publishing only in the Ukrainian language.

            Those encouraging developments, Orlova tells, are unfortunately balanced by other less positive ones, including a decline in size of print runs by about 25 percent, widespread piracy and contraband, and the lack of a stable system of supporting library collections (

            The Ukrainian government’s support for Ukrainian language has played an enormous role in the positive side of the ledger, the publisher says. Before 2014, publishers in Russia bought up rights for Ukrainian as well as Russian translations but then did not publish in Ukrainian.

            Now, that has changed, Ukrainian publishers are more active in international deals and insist on buying the Ukrainian rights, something that has helped ensure that books are translated and published in Ukrainian as is now the case.  But prices remain too high relative to income and print runs too low – 4,000 on average compared to 10,000 in Germany and 3,000 in Latvia.

            Another major change is that Ukrainian houses now publish as many as 95 percent of the titles on their lists only in Ukrainian. Before 2014, most published far more in Russian. Government policy has promoted this, but so too have reader interests. Russian-language books now sell much less well than they did, Orlova says.

            She gives as an example a new book by Mustafa Dzhemilyev. The Ukrainian language version quickly sold old, but stocks of the Russian-language one, despite expectations that Crimean Tatars would prefer a Russian version, remain unsold.

            Another case involves the works of Nobel laureate Svetlana Aleksiyevich. Her books have been translated into Ukrainian and are selling well, despite suggestions by some that they should be issued in the original Russian. 

            At the same time, Orlova says, “we have not ceased issuing books in Russian, but the print runs and assortment of books has been cut back.”

За последние 2-3 года спрос на нон-фикшн книги вырос в несколько раз. Читателя стали больше интересовать практические советы специалистов, книги по саморазвитию и мотивации.

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