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5 Facts About Publishing Industry in Ukraine during Russia’s War

1. 30% of publishing houses’ production capacities have been fully or partially lost

 ‘Due to the lack of funding for the publishing industry during the war, Ukrainian publishers found themselves in a difficult situation, especially in the occupied territories and in the areas with active hostilities. Many books used to be printed in the Kharkiv oblast, where numerous printing production facilities are concentrated. These printing facilities were among the first to be hit by enemy shelling,’ says Tetiana Popova, head of the library and book publishing department of the Ukrainian Book Institute.

According to the survey of 188 Ukrainian publishing houses conducted by the Ukrainian Book Institute, 33 publishing houses (18%) lost their production facilities, while 12 publishing houses (6%) only partially retained them. Still, 131 publishing houses (71%) have fully retained their production capacity. 12 publishers (6%) do not have information about the preservation of their production facilities. 

2. 51% of Ukrainian publishing houses were forced to reformat their activities

Following the Russian invasion, many people evacuated and relocated their families abroad. This applies to people working in the publishing industry, particularly publishing houses located in the north and the east of Ukraine, i.e. the areas with some of the most active hostilities. This forced publishing houses to reboot their workflow, with some switching to online workplace, and others suspending or even terminating their work. According to a survey conducted by Chytomo, 39% of publishing houses did not stop their work during the war, 51.2% reformatted the way their work is organized (i.e. they work partially, online or offline), but 9.8% were unable to continue to function. 

3. 95.1% of Ukrainian publishing houses note a significant decrease in book sales

Evacuation of publishing houses’ teams to the western areas of Ukraine and abroad, as well as damage to production facilities and offices during hostilities, have significantly harmed their ability to sell books. 95.1% of publishers surveyed by Chytomo noted that during the first month of the full-scale war, sales of books decreased significantly. In turn, this affected publishing houses’ ability to continue paying their employees: only 17.1% can do it fully, 54.9% partially, but almost a third (28%) can no longer afford to pay their staff.

4. Numerous employees of Ukrainian publishing houses do volunteer work in addition to their jobs or directly participate in hostilities

Since the first days of the full-scale invasion, many workers in the publishing industry started doing volunteer work (including work aligned with their main profession – as translators, editors, proofreaders, etc.), and some were mobilized or volunteered to join the military. According to Chytomo’s survey, 86.6% of publishers have staff doing volunteer work, while 30.5% have employees who have joined the military.

5. Over 62% of Ukrainian publishing houses need financial assistance to resume full activity

More than half of the publishers surveyed by the Ukrainian Book Institute noted that they needed various types of assistance: from financial assistance to cover costs (32 publishing houses) to support of foreign partners (24 publishing houses) and grant support to resume or continue their activities (more than 61 publishing houses).

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