Balai Poestaka

Balai Pustaka – Bureau voor de Volkslectuur – Commissie voor de Volkslectuur – The Bureau of Popular Literature of Netherlands India:
what it is, and what is does (±1930).

De Commissie voor de Volkslectuur te Batavia (1920)
The Committee for the Volkslectuur in Batavia (1920).
Sitting from left to right: Raden Adipati Ario Wiranatakoesoema, regent of Bandoeng, inspector of education H.C.H. de Bie, Dr. D.A. Rinkes, Raden Mas Ario Dhipokoesoemo, Mr. A. Neytzell de Wilde; standing from left to right: major R.F. van Gent, inspector of education A. de Geus, secretary A.F. Folkersma, L.Th.J. Wolterbeek-Muller, Hoesein Djajadiningrat, regent of Pasoeroean.



As the work of the Bureau of Popular Literature has become better known and appreciated by the natives of Netherlands India, it has drawn the attention of the other elements of the population as well. Interest in the Bureau is no longer local, but is spreading to foreign countries, and as the Bureau is now attracting many foreign visitors, the need of a descriptive pamphlet is felt. Such a pamphlet is particularly desirable in view of the fact that until now the only correct information has been printed in various Government publications, which, of course, are not easily available for the general reader.

This pamphlet, written by B.Th. Brondgeest of the editorial section of this office, in collaboration with Dr. G.W.J. Drewes, Head of the editorial staff, and the undersigned, formulates the idea that led to the establishment and expansion of the Bureau, and endeavours to trace the lines along which it must be developed in order to reach its goal.

T.J. Lekkerkerker
Head of the Bureau of Popular Literature.


A great change in the thoughts and desires of the native population of Netherlands India was manifested at the beginning of the twentieth century.

Formerly the majority of those among the native population who were desirous of knowledge were satisfied when they learnt to read and to write native or Arabic script. Usually they went no further, and most of them had no desire for a regular education on modern lines. The education provided by the Government was adapted to this low requirement, and was directed mainly towards the training of the assistants required for the simple administrative services of the times. There were a few schools, however, where the lower nobility, from which the native officers were drawn, could obtain the most necessary elements of instruction. Since the graduates were usually sure of finding employment in Government service, they cared little for learning more than was offered to them.

With the awakening of the East, the self-confidence of the native population of Netherlands India grew stronger, and as a result a craving for Western education was felt. Larger groups of this population, which previously had had to go without elementary education, clamoured loudly for it.

The Government of Netherlands India realised at the proper moment that possibilities which ought to be made use of had been born. Gradually the native population grew convinced that it would make more rapid progress if equipped with wider knowledge, and the Government, wishing to encourage progress, began to provide the kind of education that was demanded. The number and variety of schools were increased and the present extensively developed educational system, which has found its culminating point in the three University Colleges, the Engineering College, the Law College and the Medical College, was established.

The Government fully realised the political and social difficulties which would be the eventual result of a more or less sudden introduction of education to the masses. It therefore wished to provide facilities to make it possible for the educated younger generation to put to proper use the knowledge it had acquired. The Government was also convinced that education should never be an end in itself, nor benefit a small privileged class only, but that it ought to serve the moral and cultural development of the whole people.

The Government asked what benefit could ever be derived from founding schools which would turn out a large number of graduates, who could read and write, when outside the schools they would find no material to stimulate their mental powers. Education without providing simultaneously healthy spiritual food could even be dangerous, if the youths on leaving school should turn to literature of an undesirable character supplied by unscrupulous publishers or agitators.

The Government realised that it had to provide for the people both schools and books, so as to satisfy their taste for reading, making it possible for those who had left school to keep their minds fresh and to add to their stock of learning. It undertook the task of publishing and selling books on a large scale, with the object of providing good material to further education in a larger field that the school can reach, to combat backwardness in all quarters, and to free the people from superstition and dead tradition.

It was a tremendous task which could not be left to private enterprise. By taking the matter in its own hands, the Government could regulate the price of the books, a truly desirable proceeding, considering the small buying power of the mass of the native population. Even if a European or Chinese bookseller should occasionally publish a useful book written in a native lanquage, it was to be expected that the price would be prohibitive of its ever reaching a large circulation. The Government, however, not being out for direct profit, was in a position to bring gradually a collection of good books at a fair price to the market, and it was to be expected that with such a collection it would be able to complete successfully with any cheap and sensational literature published by private persons or firms with the object of making profit.

Having once decided to carry out this task, the Government appointed a Commission on Native School Literature and Popular Literature in 1908.

This Commission, the name of which was later abridged to “Commission on Popular Literature”, consisted of six members with the Adviser for Native Affairs as president. It was to advise the Director of Education as to books suitable for the native population. The Commission turned first to light literature which it believed would stimulate and keep alive the taste for reading. It tried to do this by issuing editions of the most popular works of the native literature, and by collecting popular tales and legends, avoiding those in which local superstitions played too large a part and any tales which, according to Western standards of morality, could not be tolerated. The efficiency of the Commission, however, was impaired, because the members had also to attend to their ordinary duties. It was not until 1910, when Dr. D.A. Rinkes was appointed president of the Commission, that the work could be taken in hand more energetically. Dr. Rinkes is the Father of the Bureau of Popular Literature. Under his able management the efficiency of the Commission increased. No longer did it limit its attention exclusively to light literature, but books for the better educated classes were also published with the object of bringing within reach of the native reader the fruits of European fiction.

Notwithstanding the still cumbrous system of working, a collection of good books was published as the result of strenuous labour. But the work continued to increase.

Manuscripts which had been submitted had to be read and eventually send on to the proper authorities for publication, or, if they were found unsuitable, returned to the authors with remarks explaining the shortcomings of each story. European literature and popular scientific works had to be translated into one or more of the native languages, of vernacular adaptations of them to be prepared.

The books had also to be distributed amongst the various groups of the population. They were therefore not only sold at a small price, but socalled popular libraries were established and supplied with the editions of the Commission.

It is obvious that this expansion put a heavy demand on the organisation of the service, and to meet this demand a thoroughly organised and equipped “Bureau of Popular Literature and related activities”, was established. Dr. D.A. Rinkes afore mentioned was appointed Chief Officer of Popular Literature, and Head of the Bureau, in 1917.

As a courtesy to the native reading public for whom it works, the Bureau bears the Malay name “Balai Poestaka” (or Balai Pustaka), which means “Palace of Literature”.

The work of the bureau

One should not infer from the foregoing that it has been the Commission on Popular Literature, and the Bureau developed therefrom, which have given a literature to the native population. The Javanese and Malay, for instance, can point to an old civilisation and possess a rich folklore, part of which has been put on record long ago. The Commission directed its attention first to the existing literary works and the folklore, and published adaptations of them.

But, as the term implies, classic literature belongs to a past period, allthough many of the old tales are for all time because of the beauty of their language, their depth of expression and their moral truths. Many of the adaptations which have been published by the Bureau are still among the best sellers, which shows that they maintain their hold on the native mind. But this is only true of the best products of the classics; the demand for the others has fallen off considerably. Their bombastic and artificial language, their longwindedness, are a few of the factors which render these works unattractive to the present generation.

That the harvest of the Commission in this field was rather small was also due to a number of other causes. It was clearly shown that the younger generation turned away from the old tales; the young men did not find in them modern conceptions and ideas; they wanted something different which they believed only the West could give to them. They read everything at hand without critical discrimination, and good Western books were often not available.

The influence which the West exercised over the mind of the native was also shown by the Malay versions of European books published by Chinese booksellers. As a rule they were not of the best kind, but nevertheless sold readily at high prices. Other European books were published as serial stories in the Malay-Chinese press and proved very attractive to the readers.

Therefore the new Bureau had to carry out an educational task: to replace the undesirable books by better ones. In this respect it has been succesful to a considerable extent. The taste of the native reading public has decidedly improved as compared with what it was some twenty years ago.

Nevertheless, one should not be too optimistic. The products of Western literature when translated into a native language, or adapted to native society, are apt to circulate among a limited — although increasing — number of people, the majority of whom have had a Western education and have learned to think and feel more or less as Europeans. The translations or adaptations published by the Bureau find, speaking generally, few buyers among the mass of the people. None of the heroes of Western literature has as yet obtained a place in their hearts.

But the Commission had obtained sufficient information to know how it should proceed and started to publish light Western literature and educational literature, in one or more of the Indonesian languages, to meet the new taste and demand.

In deciding which books should be translated the Commission followed the advice of educated natives, who had read them in the original language or in Dutch translations.

It did not do pioneer work: others had done the same before. As early as the middle of the last century some broadminded Europeans, who had the interest of the natives at heart, had published a few European and other stories, especially in Javanese, but, in accordance with the spirit of the time, these stories made tiresome reading, designed as they were to inculcate a moral lesson. Especially fables were then considered very suitable for the native population. It is obvious that the present generation does not take to them (It goes without saying that the Protestant and Roman Catholic missionary publications form a subject apart.). So a fresh start had to be made.

As to publication in a native language, two systems are followed: translation and adaptation. In the first case the original is followed closely, but very difficult passages are deleted. A free translation is made, not a literal one.

In case of adaptation the original story is rewritten against a local background, native personages are introduced. This is a far more difficult proceeding than the making of a good translation, and demands very much from the author.

Not only Dutch books, but also English, French and German novels have been adapted or translated, even a few books of Hindoo and Arabic origin, for the Bureau has occasionally turned its attention to Oriental literature also.

A gratifying result of the Bureau’s activity is that many gifted native writers themselves have started to write stories and novels which, of course, picture native life. The number of such novels submitted to the Bureau has increased considerably of late. When accepted, they are published forthwith, and the authors receive a handsome remuneration.

The native reading public is as sensitive to external appearances as the European. Books which are suitable for it are for that reason always illustrated more or less profusely, and they meet with a ready demand. Since European artists are usualy not very successful in protraying native life, their products making a more or less humourous impression on native readers, the Bureau requires the services of native artists. Although as a rule the latter have had no art instruction whatever (this cannot be obtained in Netherlands India) and cannot rival European book-illustrators, the results obtained are gratifying.

A few illustrated pictorial editions have also been published to meet the people’s demand for pictures.

Attention, too, is given to the native child. A few native stories have been adapted and a few European picture books translated for juvenile readers. In addition a prize contest has been held, and of the 35 manuscripts submitted four have obtained a prize and have been published after a little trimming.

The above applies to light literature. The Bureau has also published books of educational and instructive value. Such books have to be written in a very simple style, a task which presents peculiar difficulties, as nothing is harder than to treat a subject which demands some thinking on the part of the reader, in a comprehensible way. Fortunately, the results obtained are reasonably good. Books have been published on all sorts of economical and medical subjects, including public health, briefly, on every topic pertaining to European science which may be expected to be useful. We may also mention several publications providing technical instruction, such as manuals for the mason and the carpenter, and works on agriculture, gardening, fruitgrowing and cattle-breeding.

These manuals of agriculture, as well as the Agricultural Annual, are published in co-operation with the Department of Agriculture. The Annual is now published in two languages, Malay and Javanese.

This same set of books includes manuals embodying the most important Government regulations, for the benefit of native officers and of the public generally. They are published by the Bureau in co-operation with the Department of the Interior. As the influence of Western education increases, the demand for manuals with Dutch-Malay text increases also.

We review below some of the books issued by the Bureau, and the list inserted in another part of this pamphlet will also enable the reader to obtain a general impressions of the Bureau’s publications.

The old, purely native popular tales come first by virtue of the early date of their publication and the frequent demand for them. Prominent among them is the Malay story Hikajat Padji Semirang. It relates the adventures of a princess who refuses to marry the lover chosen for her by her father, and runs away disguised as a young man. In the end she marries a prince whom she looked upon as an enemy when they first met. It is a very popular story and has a certain charm even for Western minds.

In Javanese the tales from the Javanese shadow plays, the wayang, are very much sought after. A number of these tales, which are rooted deeply in Javanese life, have been drawn from the Hindoo epic, the Mahabharata. A complete series of them is being published in several illustrated volumes, entitled Serat padalangan ringgit poerwa, or “Handbook for the Recitor of the Shadow Plays”. The first two volumes have been published already and have met with great success; volumes 3 and 4 are in the press.

As an example of adaptation of Western literature to native surroundings, we may mention Charles Dickens’s Oliver Twist. This novel has been published as Si Djamin dan Si Djohan or “Djamin and Djohan”. The scene is laid at Batavia instead of in London, the characters from the London slums have been replaced by similar individuals such as one sees sometimes in the markets of Batavia, and poor Djamin is adopted by a benevolent and rich Chinese merchant.

Of the original stories inspired by Western novels we would mention the Sundanese novel Baroeand ka noe ngarora, which means “Poison for Youth”. It is the story of a married woman who deserts her husband for a lover, and, deserted in her turn by the latter, comes to great grief. This book has been a very good seller.

The Malay book Masdjid dan makam doenia Islam, or “The Mosques and holy Graves of the Islamic World”, is profusely illustrated and issued in a beautiful binding. There is a regular demand for it. It contains reproductions from photographs taken in all Mohammedan countries, especially in the various parts of Netherlands India, with instructive captions. It shows that an attractively executed binding appeals not only to the European taste.

The children’s picture book “Puss in Boots” is a very artistic edition with coloured silhouette illustrations, similar to the artistic European picture-books. It has been published in Malay, Javanese and Madurese.

We will only refer to a few of the books of educational and technical character. From the pen of the Javanese doctor of medicine R. Soetomo (a teacher at the Netherlands Indian Medical School at Soerabaya) we have an illustrated pamphlet on the influence on children of venereal disease entitled: Sesalan kawin, roesak keloearga dan sengsara doenia, which means “Sorrows of Marriage, Ruined Offspring and a Life of Grief”. In it stress is laid on the dangers for the child of venereal disease, and it treats of the various maladies and their destructive influence on the human body in a way easy to comprehend.

It may be stated here that native scholars are devoting their abilities and knowledge more and more to the education of the masses. The Bureau welcomes this tendency and stimulates it whenever possible. The Manual for the Electrician, published in Malay and Javanese, imparts, as the title implies, technical knowledge to the native electrician. The text has been illustrated with many drawings. Many of the technical manuals have also been published in a Dutch version, or with both Dutch and Malay text.

Let us now turn to the magazines of the Bureau. They are published in three languages, Malay, Javanese and Sundanese.

The Malay magazines are “Sri Poestaka” (The Glamour of Literature) and “Pandji Poestaka” (The Banner of Literature). “Sri Poestaka” is an illustrated monthly. When first published its object was to impart technical and social knowledge, but its scope was then too limited to be attractive. If it was to draw readers, it was necessary that its contents should be of a popular scientific character, with an admixture of literature and ethnography. The serial stories which are published in this magazine are usually republished afterwards as books, and many of the readers use the full size illustrations as wall decorations.

“Pandji Poestaka”, with its modern, bright cover, is published twice a week. Its contents are up-to-date and varied, many illustrations being added. Through this medium news from all over the world reaches the native population, almost as early as it does the European through his own press. It offers to the native reader useful information of every kind. There are articles on cattle-breeding, education and sport; there are comments on developments at home and abroad, and on newly issued Government regulations and ordinances; there are fairly detailed reports of the sessions of the Volksraad (so as to make the people understand why and how certain regulations are enforced, with the object of developing their sense of citizenship); there are market reports and there is a serial story. In the interior, with its limited postal communications, this periodical takes the place of a daily newspaper.

What “Pandji Poestaka” is for the Malay, “Parahiangan” is for the Sundanese and “Kadjawèn” for the Javanese. Parahiangan is the ancient name of the part of Java where Sundanese is spoken; Kadjawèn, a name which is perhaps best translated “The Javanese world”, is a Javanese magazine, printed in Javanese characters. It is published twice a week. The contents of both the above periodicals are almost similar to those of “Pandji Poestaka”, but adapted to the taste, demand and intellectual development of the respective groups of the population for whom they are intended. Both are illustrated.

It is not easy to edit these periodicals, and only well educated journalists can do so. The time has passed when the native press could be considered unimportant. In a short period of time the standard of journalism has risen considerably, since many persons who have had an excellent education (lawyers, medical men and engineers) write in the native papers. The Bureau of Popular Literature has to reckon with this, and to take care that its periodicals not only keep pace with those published elsewhere, but are ahead of them.

Organisation of the bureau

The work of the sections

The Bureau of Popular Literature is divided into four Sections:

  1. the Editorial Staff;
  2. the Administrative Section;
  3. the Library Control Section;
  4. the Press Section.

The general management is entrusted to the Head of the Service. He has to keep strictly in mind that the object of the Bureau is to further the moral and cultural progress of the native public, and to develop its literary taste. He must be able to efface his personality entirely; his own literary tastes and political convictions should never influence his choice of books.

The Bureau is not a profit-making institution. In order to lower the cost of production efficient methods are applied in printing, pubishing and distributing the books, but nevertheless, as the Bureau does not look for profit, it is not a business concern. It has been established on an idealistic basis: it serves the interests of the people and tries to further their progress.

Therefore, the most important section is that of the editorial staff; this is the very heart of the Bureau. It edits the books for the native reader, it is the kitchen where the real intellectual work is done. This does nog imply that the section turns its attention mainly to philological work, although its staff must include philologists who have a thorough understanding of Indonesian languages and literature and are able to utilise the results obtained from Indonesian scholarship.

As will well have been gathered from the previous chapter, the work of the staff is subdivided into editing and translating, all non-literary translation work being entrusted to the Translation Department.

The Translation Department supplies popular scientific information. It deals with various subjects and compiles the manuals which have been mentioned previously, i.e. the Popular Annuals and the Agricultural Annuals. It also translates the Manuals of Government Decrees and Ordinances, and other Government communications. Lastly, it supplies interpreters for the Civil and Military Courts. The reader will understand that, as the Bureau is engaged in such a variety of work, a thorough knowledge of native society and native needs is indispensable for its activities; it must observe great tact and must be possessed of considerable insight into the most different subjects.

As regards size, the Administrative Section takes second place. It includes the bookkeeping department, and the sales department, the printing plant, the stock-room, the records office, the forwarding department and the propaganda service. As the mass of the native population consists of people of small means, the Bureau receives a large number of petty payments, the volume of administrative work to be performed is therefore considerable.

We will now say a few words about the libraries which have been established by the Governement to meet the demand of the people for books. There are two kinds of libraries, Native libraries (Taman Poestaka, i.e. “Garden of Literature”) and Dutch libraries. A Native library is attached to every Native school of the 2nd class, and a Dutch one to the Dutch-Native schools. (At the latter schools purely Western instruction is provided.) With the consent of the Director of Education libraries are also attached to private schools. They are, however, not open exclusively to the pupils of the schools; anyone can borrow books from them for a small fee, and books for children can be borrowed free of charge. The libraries have been attached to the schools to ensure a good control, and the native teachers who have charge of them are in a position to advise the people which books they should read.

The native libraries contain mainly books published by the Bureau, Malay books in Malay-speaking districts, Javanese books in the Javanese country, and mixed libraries in bilingual districts, e.g. in Eastern-Java where Madurese and Javanese are spoken. By keeping a record of the books which are borrowed, one is able to ascertain the demand for the various publications; this, of course, is important when deciding as to new editions. Native libraries are also attached to soldiers’ barracks, to native hospitals, to the ships of the Navy and to a few large institutions.

The Dutch libraries are divided into ordinary libraries and special (more extensive) libraries, according to the number of readers. The latter are established only in a few of the larger towns and include, in addition to the books of ordinary library, a number of Dutch books for the more discriminating readers. Additions are made to the stock of Dutch books through purchases by the Bureau, a Commission advising as to which works should be chosen. Copies of the few Dutch books which are occasionally published by the Bureau are also presented to these libraries.

A set of regulations as regards their equipment, use and control has been laid down for both Dutch and Native libraries, and onde of the rules says that all “books for the bairns” may be borrowed free of charge.

The Section for Library Control has also charge of the Bureau’s library, which contains a number of literary and standard works on all kinds of subjects in Dutch, as well as in English, French, German and several Oriental languages.

We have still to explain the work of the Press Section. Although here it comes last, its work is very important. The Bureau must be well-informed as to currents of thought in native quarters, and it can only keep in touch with them through a systematic and regular observation of the expression of native opinion in the enormous number of native papers which are published in various languages.

The Press Section publishes a weekly summary of the articles in the native press, entitled “Review of the Native Press and the Chinese-Malay Papers”; this is available for the authorities as well as the public, which latter can subscribe to it.

A monthly review of the native press is published in addition, but this is a confidential publication for the Governor-General and the higher Government officials only.

Attention is given to the Dutch press in so far as its contents reflect on native life.

It is obvious that the Chief of the Press Section is in a position to advise his colleagues of the editorial staff, for one may compare the review of the native press to a stethoscope, with which the Bureau registers the heart beats of native thought. The Press Section also passes news on to the editors of the Bureau’s periodicals.

In addition, the Section translates in full articles from the native press, as well as pamphlets and leaflets, for the higher Government authorities and the Bench, and Government communications and advertisements for publication in the native papers.

The growth of the bureau

It is inevitable that the work should have increased as the Bureau became more popular throughout the Archipelago. More books were published, but still more books are asked for, and attention will have to be directed to more languages than actually is the case.

The publication of the monthly “Sri Poestaka” in 1918, was followed in 1923 by that of the weekly “Pandji Poestaka”. The number of subscribers to the new weekly increased rapidly and in January 1926 arrangements were made to publish it twice a week. “Kedjawen” was published in the same year, and since January 1928 this Javanese weekly has been issued twice a week also. The number of subscribers to both of the above bi-weekly periodicals is still increasing. “Parahiangan”, the Sundanese illustrated weekly, was published in January 1929. It is expected that this paper, too, will soon be published twice a week.

As the process of differentiation in native society continued, the importance of the Translation Department increased and continues to do so as the task of enlightening the native public grows more complicated.

It has been discribed how the Bureau of Popular Literature developed from the Commission of Popular Literature. Before the Bureau was established in its present form, a considerable part of the work which has been described was not carried out by the Bureau itself. In the beginning the Bureau’s books were printed by private firms, but after a few years it became evident that this state of affairs could not continue. The printers formed a federation, and their charges became higher. Under such conditions the Bureau could not maintain its low prices for books, unless they were sold at a considerable loss. The Bureau therefore itself took in hand its printing. A few presses and type material were purchased, a staff was engaged, and in 1921 the Bureau had established its own printing plant.

Since then the plant has been considerably enlarged and modernised and it can fully meet the demand for books.

Through this development the Bureau is now an entirely independent publishing institution.

As has been said above, the distribution of the books is effected in two ways; by distribution to the libraries and by sale. Formerly the so-called “stock-room of School Material” had charge of the sales. No thought was given to advertising, as little was expected from small, private orders. The fact that Chinese booksellers had purchased a large stock of the Bureau’s books and sold them at higher prices was also not conducive to advertising on a large scale. With the object of stimulating sales, persons of good repute in Java as well as in the Outer Provinces, were appointed sub-agents. Some fifty of these agents are now in the employ of the Bureau. As the sales organisation of the Bureau was gradually being established, advertising offered good prospects and it was taken up with succesful results. Sales increased to a figure which the Stock-room of School Material could not handle, and in 1919 the Bureau itself took full charge of the selling. It established its own store rooms, and engaged a staff for the new department. Publishing, printing and selling then came under one control.

The price of every book is printed on the cover so as to prevent its being sold at a higher figure. Catalogues which contain bibliographic and other information can be obtained on application. The periodicals published by the Bureau are posted direct to the subscribers.

Propaganda is required to stimulate the sales of the books. Experience has shown that the native public reacts quickly to good advertising. A special officer has charge of this branch of the work and is attached to the Administrative Section. He collects the addresses of readers in all parts of Netherlands India for the purpose of posting to them regularly propaganda literature and book announcements. The Bureau’s travelling book-shops are also very useful. Trucks have been equipped as a book-stand and travel throughout the country calling at small villages, markets and estates. They visit the remotest parts of Java and it is surprising how many volumes are sold in this way. A similar travelling book-shop is now being built for Sumatra.

In 1912 libraries had been established only in the Javanese and Sundanese districts. Their total number was 700. In 1918 75 libraries were established in the Madurese districts,and in 1919 371 in the Malay ones. The total number of libraries had by then increased to 1388: 712 Javanese, 229 Sundanese, 76 Madurese and 371 Malay. The total figure is now 2525: 725 Malay, 1200 Javanese, 450 Sundanese and 150 Madurese. The number of Dutch libraries had increased also, although not at the same pace as the Native libraries. There are now 170 of them. Since all these libraries are under direct central management, one can imagine the amount of administrative work done in this Section.

As the work of the Bureau grew more extensive, it became necessary to employ a larger staff and the employees could be selected more carefully. Three doctors of Oriental literature are now attached to the Bureau. The staff consists at present of 122 persons, European and native, and there are in addition a number of printers, compositors, bookbinders and packers. Other minor help is also employed.

But the native population continues to progress. The Bureau of Popular Literature, which strives to meet the demand for books, must therefore continue to carry out its task and keep pace with the march of progress or, what is even better, keep ahead of it.

Additional information