Book publishing numbers stable in Latvia

The number and circulation of books published is stable, while the printed press sector has continued to decline, according to the latest data on Latvian publishing statistics compiled by the National Library of Latvia.

Last year, 2,014 books and pamphlets were published with a print run of 2,223,248 copies. Of these, 70.7% were original editions and 29.3% were translations. As usual, the majority of books - 80.8% - (91.1% of the total book print run) are published in Latvian, including the Liv and Latgalian written languages. Compared to 2022, the total number of books and brochures decreased by 0.4%, while the circulation decreased by 5.9%.

"However, looking at the last five years, in terms of the number of books published and circulation, there has been a stabilization trend over the last three years, following the crisis that the sector experienced in 2020 due to the restrictions introduced during the Covid-19 pandemic, which also largely caused the so-called 'paper crisis' or shortage and an increase in the price of paper. The application of the reduced VAT rate on books and periodicals in 2021 has undoubtedly contributed to the stabilization of the book sector," Elza Ungure, Acting Head of the Collections Department of the LNB, said.

Meanwhile, the prolonged decline in the print sector continues.

In 2023, the statistics show that there are only 80 newspapers registered in the Mass Media Register (Masu informācijas līdzekļu reģistrs, MIL) (the number of MIL-registered newspapers has fallen by 74 in five years), with a total number of issues published at 5,206 (down 29.4% in five years) and a total circulation of 25,392,621 copies (down 48.4% in five years). Of the newspapers registered with MIL in 2023, 66.3% are in Latvian and 31.3% in Russian. 

Official publishing statistics are compiled by the Library on the basis of the required copies of publications and publishing activity reports submitted by publishers.

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