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the right to use a given thing (a library, seat in a theater, skating rink, swimming pool, telephone, and so on) for a specified length of time; also, the document giving this right.
Library subscriptions in the USSR are free and can be individual or collective (for institutions, enterprises, and such). On an individual library subscription, the reader may receive books directly from the library of his choice. There are intraunion interlibrary subscriptions which enable a library that does not have a given book to obtain it for a specified period from another library; and international subscriptions, by means of which certain large libraries (for example, the V. I. Lenin State Library of the USSR) may obtain for their readers books from other countries for a specified period.
A theater or concert subscription is paid for in advance and entails the right to use a seat in a theater or concert hall during a specified period and for specified performances or concerts. Theater subscriptions arose in Italy in the 1690’s and in Russia in the 1700’s along with the appearance of professional theaters. The selection of programs for theater and concert subscriptions for various audience categories is of great significance for education and art appreciation.
the advance collection of orders for such periodically issued printed material as newspapers, journals, and multivolume book series. Subscriptions make it possible to calculate more precisely the number of copies to be printed of a particular publication. In the USSR, subscriptions to newspapers and journals are placed at post offices, at circulation offices of enterprises and of public and educational institutions, and at housing offices. In 1974, subscriptions to Moscow newspapers and journals constituted about 86 percent of their total circulation throughout the country. Subscriptions to book series are placed at bookstores with subscription departments; in 1974 there were more than 1,000 such bookstores.