This paper investigates the policies, practices, and limitations of state control of print during the French colonial period. I argue that the French colonial state attempted to control the production and circulation of print in order to spread pro-colonial propaganda, to monopolize cultural and political influence over Indochina, and to counter the circulation of anti-colonial revolutionary ideologies.Specifically I investigate Governor General Pierre Pasquier’s attempts to implement a comprehensive regime of print control modeled on the Dutch East Indies Balai Pustaka publishing, libraries, and distribution network. I reveal thediffuse negotiations and fragmented implementation of an official system to control the publishing and distribution of print throughout the regions of Indochina. Colonial administrators proposed different ways for state control of print media—from a completely new centralized system of publishing and libraries, to collaboration with local administrators, translators, and Vietnamese associations. The project was not simply a top-down, consistent and evenly distributed state policy. Colonial administrator Émile Vayrac proposed the creation of ‘indirect propaganda’— state sponsored print media that conveyed French colonialism in Indochina as benevolent and modernizing. In comparison, Director of the Indochina Archives and Libraries Paul Boudet focused on expanding access to ‘apolitical’ reading matter for the countryside through provincial libraries and circulating book wagons. These projects to strengthen and centralize print control emerged out of colonial fears of rising urban radicalism, anti-colonial revolutionary ideologies, and rise of millenarian influence in the 1920s and 1930s.