Where No One Has Gone Before (going_boldly) wrote in little_details,
Where No One Has Gone Before

Smuggling Books and Botching Searches

This one is stumping me.

I'm looking for information about book smuggling- specifically, about buying, selling, publishing, hiding, and transporting books within a police state with a culture of censorship.

Context: For the past 150 years, most of the planet has been run by an absolute monarchy, with distinct leanings towards being a cyberpunk police state. By the time that government fell, it was easier to list the books that weren't banned, and about three had be added to the list over the last twenty years. Given how active the Resistance was, and how much of it was comprised of teachers, librarians, and just plain intellectuals, and how they were ultimately successful, I don't imagine these laws were often followed. I'm sort of hoping that I could get some anecdotes about books on the black market, along with some general information.

Here's my problem: I first googled for "book smuggling" and got a great many hits about books about drug smuggling. So I added a "-drugs", and got several hits about books on human trafficking. So I tried again with "book smuggling Nazi Germany", and got several hits about one book that was smuggled out of Nazi Germany in a cake and several more about books on smuggling Nazis into Argentina. So then I tried "book smuggling Soviet Union" and got several books about nuclear weapons smuggling. Then I took my search to Wikipedia, where I discovered that it was evidently something that was very popular in Lithuania for pretty much the whole of the 20th century, but not much else. I bit more poking around gave me the term samizdat (delightfully snarky definition: "I myself create it, edit it, censor it, publish it, distribute it, and get imprisoned for it.") which was a bit more helpful, if not exactly what I was looking for, as the emphasis in that article is mostly on what happened to samizdat authors were caught, rather than the normal state of affairs for someone who was involved in printing/selling/buying/moving black market books. I also picked up A Universal History of the Destruction of Books by Fernando Baez, which I'm hoping will also help me search constructively. In the meantime- help?
Tags: ~librarians & libraries, ~literature

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