Book Exchange

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Book Exchange


in libraries the transfer of printed works in constant use from one library to another. There are domestic and international book exchanges.

In the USSR domestic book exchange has developed significantly. Book-exchange holdings have been established by the central, republic, oblast, and certain other libraries. The largest one is the Central Book-Exchange Holding of the V. I. Lenin State Library of the USSR, which had more than 3 million copies in 1972. In the same year there were more than 100 Soviet libraries participating in book exchanges within the USSR; as many as 14 million books may be redistributed annually. Literature is exchanged among the libraries of the Soviet Union without any charge.

Domestic book exchange abroad is widespread in Great Britain and the USA, where there are major centers of library book exchange—the British National Book Center (BNBC) in London and the United States Book Exchange (USBE) in Washington, D.C. The latter operates on the profit-and-loss principle, and therefore libraries must pay considerable sums for the literature that they receive from it.

International library book exchange is based on mutually advantageous bilateral and multilateral agreements among states or on agreements concluded directly between libraries or learned institutions of different countries. Soviet scholarly libraries are active in international book exchanges, particularly the V. I. Lenin State Library of the USSR in Moscow and the Library of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR in Leningrad. Each year Soviet libraries send abroad more than 1 million copies of Soviet books and journals; 800,000–900,000 copies of foreign publications are acquired. Coordination of the work of the international book exchange in the USSR is performed by the V. I. Lenin State Library of the USSR.

Some foreign countries have national centers for international book exchange—for example, the Belgian International Book Exchange Service in Brussels. Among foreign libraries the most active in international book exchanges are the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., and the British Museum Library in London.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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