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Tolstoy. Pushkin. Solzhenitsyn. With five Nobel Prize laureates in literature and a rich history of famed authors, Russia has long been a publishing powerhouse. But that hasn’t helped it escape a worldwide publishing crisis marked by a precipitous decline in annual book sales. To help stem the tide, last month the government announced plans to pool more than $100 million to prop up the nation’s $2 billion book market until 2018, as part of a broader initiative to boost funding for the arts.

Amidst the crisis, ebooks have emerged as a bright spot. According to the Russian Association of Online Publishers, ebook sales almost doubled in 2012 to $8 million, up from $4.1 million in 2011. As Quartz reports, 70% of Russian readers are using ebooks, which cost about $3 each in the republic (versus $10 or more in the U.S.).

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