State presence in the cultural media market has been maintained through continued state ownership of some organisations such as the foundation Kultuurileht — a publishing house for cultural periodicals and the Estonian Public Broadcasting. A comparison between the different fields of the culture industries shows that the juridical status of the companies is not the most determining factor. By means of project support from the Cultural Endowment or the Ministry of Culture, private-owned publishing houses can apply for public support:
- to translate foreign literature into Estonian;
- to use guesthouses for writers and translators;
- to develop international cooperation between writers’ unions.
Due to the limited publishing market in Estonia, it is difficult to issue cultural journals without state aid. An average edition will be less than 2 000 copies a month and if the state did not pay a share the price of a single copy would be extremely high. To prevent this from happening, the state supports cultural magazines and newspapers via the state-owned foundation Kultuurileht. It publishes the most noteworthy cultural journals and papers: two weeklies and ten magazines plus the monthly Diplomaatia in cooperation with the International Centre for Defense Studies.
The year’s issues for the cultural magazines Looming, Akadeemia, Vikerkaar, Teater.Muusika.Kino, Kunst.ee and Täheke have been digitized and are available free of charge, a year after these magazines were printed, in the Digar (digital archive of the Estonian National Library).
In the case of books, the Ministry of Culture’s priorities have been international promotion. The Ministry supports Estonian publishing houses presence in international book fairs. In cooperation with the Estonian Publishers’ Association, the state finances the participation of Estonian publishers in international book fairs such as London, Frankfurt, Leipzig, Gothenburg, Helsinki, Bologna and the Baltic Book Fair.
The issue of books and printed newspapers/magazines is subject to a reduced VAT rate of 9% in Estonia (see chapter 4.1.4).