This thesis is a study of ordinary adult readers and their reading preferences in the USSR in the 1960s, 1970s and early 1980s. Chapter One provides background information on Soviet policies towards reading and on the changes in Soviet society which have influenced reading habits over the last 30 years. This is followed by a description of the reader surveys used for the research and a discussion of some methodological problems. Chapter Two is concerned with all aspects of political control over reading, as it affects the writer, the publishing process, the book trade, libraries and ultimately the reader. Chapters Three and Four consider problems of the supply of reading matter through the retail trade and through mass (public) libraries. Chapter Five is an analysis of how various sociodemographic factors affect reading, and of the effect of television on reading. Chapter Six considers the relative importance of books, newspapers and journals, and the balance between fiction and non-fiction in readers' preferences. Chapter Seven is concerned with the reading of non-fiction, whether in books, journals or newspapers, and Chapter Eight provides an analysis of readers' preferences in novels, poetry and plays. The thesis concludes that the many, often contradictory, stereotypes of reading in the USSR all have some foundation in reality
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