Trade Literature

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Trade Literature


written and printed works that describe a particular type of practical human activity or the machinery and equipment used in it.

Trade literature disseminates information on the latest advances in material production and in occupations not dealing with the production of material goods, for example, the work of doctors and teachers. It is always intended for a specific group of specialists or for persons who wish to master a given speciality. Trade literature therefore serves both educational and reference purposes and hence its detailed and precise logical organization. The topic is developed according to the sequence of production cycles, operations, or labor procedures. Concrete recommendations are made, but no scientific substantiation is provided, nor are reasons given for the selection of the recommendations. The language of trade literature should correspond in its professional level to the intended reader’s level of preparation. Trade publications soon become outdated owing to scientific and technical progress. This is the reason for the large number of new publications and the frequent appearance of revised editions (approximately every three or four years).

A rapid growth of trade literature was characteristic for the epoch of developing capitalism. Owing to the fierce competition among companies in present-day bourgeois society, the number of publications dealing with practical applications is low and becoming still lower. In socialist society, trade literature is published at a high and stable rate. The publication of trade literature in the developing countries is increasing.

Trade publications include handbooks and manuals, monographs and serial publications, such as Builder’s Library and Economics of Metallurgical Production, and descriptions of new methods in industry. Other types of trade publications are albums of designs and plans, pamphlets, specifications, technological instructions and norms, and operating and servicing instructions. Monographs dealing with applied science and published for advanced study by highly qualified specialists are becoming increasingly common. They reflect the practical results and potential of scientific research and development.

In the USSR, trade literature is published by specialized central publishing houses, of which the largest are Mashinostroenie, Kolos, Nedra, Metallurgiia, Transport, Stroiizdat, and Energiia. It is also published by republic and local publishing houses. In addition to books and pamphlets, the specialized central publishing houses publish specialized trade journals.


Lenin, V. I. “Tezisy o proisvodstvennoi propagande.” Poln. sobr. soch, 5th ed., vol. 42, pp. 14–15.
Teplov, D. Iu. Tipy i vidy tekhnicheskoi literatury. Leningrad, 1973.
Cherniak, A. Ia. “Lenin i sovetskaia tekhnicheskaia kniga.” In the collection Kniga: Issledovaniia i materialy, collection 20. Moscow, 1970.


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