According to the data of the Lithuanian Department of Statistics, in 2018 the number of publishers who have published at least one book, brochure or booklet was 514, although the number of publishing houses that actually operate in the Lithuanian publishing market is around 50. The Lithuanian Publishers Association, established in 1989, unites currently 43 active publishing houses as well as NGO’s mostly concentrating on specialised publishing.
Table 17: Number of titles of books and brochures by type and year
|Books and brochures by purpose||2014||2015||2016||2017||2018||Total by purpose|
|Scientific literature||311||352||277||257||215||1 412|
|Literature of law||20||20||21||12||11||84|
|Educational literature for pupils||200||321||263||355||265||1 404|
|Educational literature for students||176||175||145||113||97||706|
|Informative literature for children||78||66||106||110||109||469|
|Popular literature||858||800||830||778||832||4 098|
|Fiction for adults||926||919||879||920||818||4 462|
|Fiction for children||414||418||457||376||415||2 080|
|Total each year||3 292||3 575||3 272||3 191||3 075||16 405|
The International Vilnius Book Fair is the major event of Lithuanian books publishing industry. The Fair has been organised since 1999 and during the twenty years of its existence became the biggest and most important book fair in the Baltic States. It gives a possibility to evaluate the whole publishing market of Lithuania and the neighbouring countries, and to get to know new names of the literary world. The Fair is also the main meeting place of publishers, authors and readers. Over 500 cultural events are held annually during the four opening days, the Fair attracts more than 60 000 visitors. The main accent of the Fair is on books and cultural events, as well as on the possibility for authors to interact with their readers.
The publishing industry is supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania, the Lithuanian Council of Culture, and the Lithuanian Culture Institute.
The Ministry of Culture implements the National Literature Programme that was approved by the Lithuanian Government in 2014. The programme seeks to promote the creation of fiction and literature of humanities, as well as its critical reflection and dissemination in Lithuania and abroad. One of the tasks of the programme was to form the Council of Literature, an advisory body operating under the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania, acting as an expert and consultant in formulating and implementing the policy of literature and its dissemination. The Council was established in 2014.
In 2018, the Ministry of Culture approved the Reading Promotion Programme for 2018–2024. The Programme supports various reading promotion initiatives and projects, the election of the “Book of the Year” (organised by Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania), the “Top 12 Most Creative Books” competition (organised by the Institute of Lithuanian Literature and Folklore), and the event “Lithuania Reads” (coordinated by the Lithuanian Publishers Association) organised on 7 May, the Press Recovery Day.
The Lithuanian Culture Institute implements Translation Grant Programme that supports the translations of the Lithuanian literature into foreign languages; provides information about Lithuanian authors to foreign publishers, publishing and translation houses and organisations; organises presentations of creations of Lithuanian writers at international book fairs, creative symposiums, and other events. The funds from the Ministry of Culture have been used for publishing about 30 books of Lithuanian authors in foreign publishing houses annually, and for the organisation of translation workshops and seminars for the translators of Lithuanian literature into foreign languages every two years.
The Lithuanian Council for Culture supports literature and publishing through its programmes designated to fund the creation of literature and publishing of original and translated literature of humanities. In 2018, the Council allocated 1 206 208 EUR for 178 projects of literature and publishing, and awarded 43 individual grants for translations, creative writing and publishing.
Part of the Lithuanian publishing industry is the printed and electronic press. However, according to the data of the Lithuanian Department of Statistics and the media research company KANTAR, there is a steady decline in publishing and reading of printed media. According to the data of 2017, at least one issue of a periodical was read by 74 per cent of 15-74 years old Lithuania’s population, i.e. 3 per cent less than in 2016. The share of loyal readers (average audience) also fell by 1 per cent and was 62 per cent in 2017, thus the overall readability of the press compared to 2016 decreased. In 2017, Lithuanian residents read newspapers for an average of 12 minutes and magazines for an average of 13 minutes a day, compared to 2016, these figures did not change. Weeklies remain the form of periodicals that reach the biggest share of audience, with an overall audience of 60 per cent in 2017. The audience of the dailies declined with 2 per cent, up to 33 per cent.
Table 18: The statistics of Lithuanian printed media industry in 2014–2018
|Number of newspaper titles||239||222||216||207||188|
|Annual circulation of newspapers||108 538||97 650||93 162||84 409||79 304|
|Number of periodicals titles||549||550||566||541||527|
|Annual circulation of periodicals||55 091||52 461||50 080||46 399||42 746|
The financial support for printed and electronic media is allocated by the Press, Radio and Television Support Foundation. The Foundation implements 4 funding programmes related to the press industry 1) periodicals of culture and art; 2) national periodical press; 3) regional periodical press; 4) the internet media. The projects submitted for funding have to address the issues of art and culture, media literacy and public information security. The foundation also supports the subscription of the printed press of libraries.
Table 19: Results of the funding competition of the Press, Radio and Television Support Foundation of 2018
|Programme||Number of submitted projects||Number of supported projects||Amount allocated||Subscription funds||Amount allocated along with subscription|
|Periodicals of culture and arts||36||33||545 000||95 985||640 985|
|National periodical press||42||34||212 800||27 728||240 528|
|Regional periodical press||117||89||614 500||17 928||632 428|
|National radio and television broadcasting||48||33||394 740||0||394 740|
|Regional radio and television broadcasting||62||39||248 500||0||248 500|
|Internet media||121||73||429 000||0||429 000|
|Total||426||301||2 444 540||141 641||2 586 181|
Source: The Annual Report of Press, Radio and Television Support Foundation, 2018, pp. 10.
In general, the Lithuanian publishing and press policy of the last 10 years is directed to the promotion of reading, creation of national literature and dissemination of Lithuanian literature abroad. From these three directions, the Lithuanian Cultural Policy Strategy 2030 emphasises the promotion of reading. The Strategy states that it is necessarily to support a positive public attitude towards reading, to develop culture of reading and to strengthen pupils’ reading abilities through creative promotion of literature and books.