According to the data of Statistics Lithuania, in 2020 the number of publishers who have published at least one book, brochure or booklet was 532, although the number of publishing houses that actively operate in the Lithuanian publishing market is around 50. The Lithuanian Publishers Association, established in 1989, currently unites 50 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
|Number of titles of books and brochures|
|Books and brochures by purpose||2016||2017||2018||2019||2020||Total by purpose|
|Educational literature for schoolchildren||263||355||265||186||236||1305|
|Educational literature for students||145||113||97||94||56||505|
|Informative literature for children||106||110||109||120||102||547|
|Popular literature||830||778||832||1 009||897||4346|
|Fiction for adults||879||920||818||1 011||1 022||4650|
|Fiction for children||457||376||415||407||461||2116|
|Total each year||3272||3191||3075||3479||3257||16 274|
The International Vilnius Book Fair is the major event of the Lithuanian books publishing industry. The Fair has been organised since 1999 and during the twenty-three 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, which attract more than 60 000 visitors. The main focus 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.
Since 2014, the Ministry of Culture implements the National Literature Programme that has five strategic directions: to support the creators of literature; promote reading; strengthen the institutions operating in the field of literature and its dissemination, their cooperation and coordination; increase the awareness of Lithuanian literature in the world; and facilitate the development and dissemination of children’s and young people’s literature. In implementation of this programme, the Ministry is consulted by an advisory Council of Literature. The Council of Literature was established in 2014 and acts as an expert and consultant in formulating and implementing the policy of literature and its dissemination.
The first literature policy direction – to support the creators of literature – is mainly implemented by the Lithuanian Council for Culture, through its educational and individual grants programmes. Since 2014, the Council has awarded 537 grants for writers, translators, and critics of literature. To encourage and appreciate the creators, translators and critics of literature, the Ministry of Culture has been awarding premiums annually for the best works: the Armchair of the Translator of the Year (in cooperation with the Lithuanian PEN Centre), St. Jerome’s Prize (in cooperation with the Lithuanian Association of Literary Translators), as well as the Yotvingian Prize and the Young Yotvingian Prize (in cooperation with the Association “Druskininkai Poetic Fall”), Martynas Ma˛vydas Premium for merits to the Lithuanian language, history of writing and book art is awarded for the best research achievements in Lithuanian literature, language history, culture and book science.
The second literature policy direction – reading promotion – is implemented by the Ministry of Culture and state libraries. The first reading promotion programme was approved in 2006 and since then it has been constantly updated. The programme supports various reading promotion initiatives and projects. The most popular of them is the election of the “Book of the Year” (organised by Martynas Ma˛vydas National Library of Lithuania), the “Top 12 Most Creative Books” competition (organised by the Institute of Lithuanian Literature and Folklore), the summer reading action “Reading challenge”, and the event “Lithuania Reads” (coordinated by the Lithuanian Publishers Association) organised on 7 May, the Press Recovery Day.
The Lithuanian Culture Institute implements the Translation Grant Programme that supports translations of Lithuanian literature into foreign languages. The programme has been ongoing in Lithuania since 2001. The programme was first run by the public institution “Books from Lithuania”, but since 2010 the work has been continued by the Lithuanian Culture Institute. Over the 20 years since the establishment of the programme, it has supported the translation of 461 Lithuanian literary works into 38 languages. There are 3 grants available: The Books Translation Grant, Illustrated Books (Children’s Picture Books and Graphic Novels) Grant and The Sample Translation Grant. The Lithuanian Culture Institute also 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 Lithuanian Council for Culture supports literature and publishing through its programmes for literature of the humanities and literature in general. The first programme funds the publishing of the Lithuanian literature of the humanities, the translation of foreign literature of humanities (culturology, philosophy, aesthetics, political literature etc.) and the translation and publishing of Lithuanian literature of the humanities in foreign languages. The general literature programme funds the following activities: 1) professional creation and its dissemination in Lithuania and abroad; 2) events; 3) accumulation of information (archiving, documentation) and its dissemination; 4) publishing; 5) professional criticism and analysis; 6) networking and mobility; 7) co-production; and 8) development of mastery and education. In 2021, the Council allocated 1 256 687 EUR for 216 projects of literature and publishing, and awarded 99 individual grants for translations, creative writing, and publishing.
Part of the Lithuanian publishing industry consists of the printed and electronic press. However, according to the data of Statistics Lithuania and the media research company KANTAR, there is a steady decline in publishing and reading of printed media over the last 5 years. According to the data of 2019, at least one issue of a periodical was read by 71 % of the 15-74 year age group, i. e. 3 per cent less than in 2018 and 2017.
Table 18: The statistics of the Lithuanian printed media industry in 2016–2020
|Number of newspaper titles (units)||216||207||188||184||168|
|Annual circulation of newspapers (thousand copies)||93.162||84.409||79.304||72.924||63.781|
|Number of periodicals titles (units)||566||541||527||538||491|
|Annual circulation of periodicals (thousand copies)||50.080||46.399||42.746||42.201||39.127|
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; and 4) the internet media. The projects submitted for funding must address the issues of art and culture, media literacy and public information security. The foundation also supports the subscriptions for the printed press in libraries.
Table 19: Results of the funding competition of the Press, Radio and Television Support Foundation of 2017-2021
|Number of funded projects/ Amount allocated, in EUR||Number of funded projects/ Amount allocated, in EUR||Number of funded projects/ Amount allocated, in EUR||Number of funded projects/ Amount allocated, in EUR||Number of funded projects/ Amount allocated, in EUR|
|Periodicals of culture and arts||30 / 565 000||33 / 545 000||32 / 653 034||30 / 641 407||28 / 654 098|
|National periodical press||33 / 221 120||34 / 212 800||35 / 247408||34 / 262 772,59||30 / 252 527|
|Regional periodical press||99 / 641 670||89 / 614 500||88 / 650116||84 / 644 986,95||77 / 643 545|
|Internet media||71 / 431 252||73 / 429 000||75 / 414090||79 / 413 500||81 / 417 100|
|Total||233 / 1 859 042||229 / 1 801 300||230 / 1 964 648||227 / 1 962 666,54||216 / 1 967 270|
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 necessary to support a positive public attitude towards reading, to develop a culture of reading and to strengthen schoolchildren’s reading abilities through creative promotion of literature and books.