The literature policy aims to facilitate diversity and quality, and to ensure widespread access to literature for everyone in Norway. A wide selection of literature and good accessibility is crucial for democracy and freedom of speech.

One of the main instruments of the literature policy is the purchasing schemes, where the state, represented by Arts Council Norway, purchases a certain number of copies of select titles every year, which are then distributed to Norwegian libraries. Other important instruments are exemptions from value-added tax, and compensation for the use of works through the Public Lending Right. Additionally, the state supports various promotional activities connected to literature and reading, and grants for authors.

Purchasing schemes, incentives, as well as books purchased by libraries, benefit the book industry and is of great importance for the distribution of books to new readers. These measures are also important strategic tools in the cultural policy.

This literary system has evolved through collaboration between writers-, publishers- and booksellers' organisations, and has proven to produce strong and diverse literature.

The Book Act

On January 1, 2024, the Book Act came into force. The act takes into account the major changes in technology and reading habits that have characterized the literature industry in recent years. It applies to all stakeholders in the industry, incorporating large parts of the existing book agreement between the Norwegian Booksellers Association and the Norwegian Publishers Association, in addition to introducing new obligations. Furthermore, the act balances the interests of various stakeholders and will provide predictable and stable conditions for authors, publishers, and booksellers. Additionally, the Book Act ensures fair competition conditions for publishers and booksellers of varying sizes and affiliations.

The core of the Book Act is the establishment of a fixed price for each publishing format of new books, such as hardcover, paperback, e-book, and audiobook. The fixed price, determined by publishers, will apply for 12 months from the first time the book format is published. The fixed price ensures the financial basis for the authors and the industry, so that they can create, publish and sell a wide variety of quality literature. The fixed price also ensures the existence of booksellers in smaller places, where selling books might otherwise not be profitable.

Furthermore, the Book Act aims to facilitate access to the latest audiobooks during the fixed-price period, as streaming services will also be required to offer audiobooks for individual sale. While audiobook sales have witnessed substantial growth, not all audiobooks have been available on the different streaming platforms. The selection has varied from platform to platform. The new act will make it easier to access all books, including those subject to fixed prices.

Strategy for reading enjoyment

The population in Norway, especially children and young people, are reading less than before. The government aims to reverse this trend by directing attention towards cultivating reading enjoyment through a new strategy. The strategy aims to create a culture of reading. Reading not only provides enriching experiences, but is also crucial for acquiring knowledge, expressing ourselves, participating in society, and developing a critical sense. It is a fundamental skill that is crucial to freedom of speech.

The Ministry of Culture and Equality and the Ministry of Education collaborate on the strategy.