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History


The predecessor of University of Tartu Press was a print shop set up in Tartu, in 1632. It was here, that an 8-page university disputation was printed in December 1963 – the first printed publication issued in Estonia. Thus, today’s Press is as old as the University of Tartu itself. At the time, the print shop also functioned as the first publishing enterprise in Estonia.

In 1699 the print shop was moved to Pärnu together with the university and in 1709, during the Great Northern War, it was evacuated to Stockholm; later it became a branch of the Turku University printing house. On the re-opening of the university in 1802 a printer was employed, but no press was set up. The printer Grenzius produced university publications in his private print shop. From the end of the 19th century to the middle of the 20th century orders received from the university were mainly fulfilled in Karl Mattiesen’s printing house.

1946 saw the beginning of the publishing of ten university publication series. In 1957 a Romayor, the first offset printing press in Estonia, was obtained and the university church was converted into a printing house. In 1959 the Tartu State University publishing group was founded and in 1971 the Tartu State University publishing and printing department was established. At the time, the number of academic publications and textbooks in the Soviet Union was limited by the government; Tartu University was given 50% of the whole limit granted to Soviet Estonia. Tartu State University Press ranked second only to Moscow University Press among all the Soviet universities. But as for the number of publications per lecturer, Tartu University firmly held the first position. There were about 30 employees working for the publishing and printing department at the time.

In 1999 the Press became a self-financing unit of the university; since 2001 Tartu University Press is a limited company belonging 100% to the university. We fulfil 700-800 orders a year with an estimated cost of 400, 000 EUR. We use modern digital printing devices (Xerox, Minolta, Canon); nearly 200 titles are published a year. We have also started publishing e-books.
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