This article establishes the importance of UNESCO’s role within the global history of the book. Its focus is the research on the book in the developing world that UNESCO sponsored in the 1960s and 1970s, and how that research supported claims that government should intervene in book and media industries in order to shift the disastrous imbalance in the global media system. It shows how these claims were undermined by the interests of the developed world and sidelined by the emerging discipline of book history.

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