The new national cultural policy objectives were adopted by the Swedish Parliament in December 2009. Although the objectives are national in scope and govern national cultural policies, they are also meant to provide guidance to municipalities and county councils in relation to their cultural policies.


The objectives are for culture to be a dynamic, challenging, independent force based on freedom of expression, for all members of society to have access to culture, and for societal development to be characterised by creativity, diversity and artistic quality.
In order to achieve these objectives, cultural policies are to: 

  • promote general access to culture and education and provide opportunities for all members of society to develop their creative potential,
  • promote quality and artistic renewal,
  •  promote a dynamic cultural heritage which is maintained, utilized and further developed,
  • promote international and inter-cultural exchanges and collaboration,
  • pay particular attention to the rights of children and young people in relation to culture.


The aim of the support scheme for Swedish literature is to promote the quality and diversity of book publication to ensure that readers are guaranteed a wide range of good quality literature. With certain exceptions, support can be granted for individual titles that have been published in Swedish. Applications for support are considered by working committees whose members have specific competence to assess applications within a determined sphere of literature.

The regulation regarding the support scheme is Ordinance (2010:1058) on support for Swedish literature. Factors to be assessed for each title applied for include: the book must be of good quality both technically and editorially. The support granted is determined on the basis of the number of pages in relation to the net price charged by the publishing company (i.e. the price at which the publishing company sells the book to retailers, excluding VAT).


Publishing companies or other publishers operating in Sweden in the form of a registered company with a Swedish business registration number.

Sami publisher in another Nordic country for issuing business of professional nature in Sweden.


The literature support is primarily retroactive, meaning that it is applied for after the book has been published.

In principle, support is not granted for books which are wholly financed by other state subsidies. Support cannot be applied for festschrifts, books written to commemorate a certain individual, and printed music. As a rule, support is not granted for textbooks, teaching aids or specialist literature. Other categories of books not eligible for support include: encyclopaedia and other similar books, hobby, books of strictly local interest, exhibition catalogues, activity books, manuals, internal religious literature, cookery books and travel guides.


The grounds for assessment of all titles are that they are to be of good quality both technically and editorially. The Swedish Arts Council does not give priority to titles where the size of the print run for the first edition is large enough that it is likely to provide sufficient income for the publisher.

The literature support is divided into nine categories:

1. Fiction for adults
2. Non-fiction for adults
3. Children and young people's fiction
4. Illustrated works for adults
5. Classics
6. Comic books (graphic novels)
7. Literature in immigrant and minority languages
8. Literature by authors writing in one of the national minority languages
9. Literature published electronically


The amount of support granted is based on the number of pages in relation to the net price charged by the publishing company (i.e. the price at which the publishing company sells the book to retailers, excluding VAT).

The support granted for titles printed in a first edition of five thousand copies or more is reduced by half the normal amount, the maximum of which is SEK 70,000 for books of standard quality. 25 per cent of the normal amount is deducted for paperback books and editions that are technically unusually simple. The amount of the subsidy is also reduced for PhD theses which have been granted a national printing subsidy or books which received other kinds of national production support.


Every book that is granted literature support also automatically receives “distribution support”, and is thus distributed to all the main libraries in Sweden. One condition for being granted is therefore that the applicant must be able to supply a certain number of copies of the book. As payment for these books, the publishing company receives 50 per cent of the publishing company's net price for the book, multiplied by the number of main libraries.


Decisions are made by five different working committees whose members have specific competence to assess applications within a determined area of literature. Each committee reviews every relevant application, assesses it in relation to the others, and discusses the distribution of the available support, after which the committee makes a joint decision concerning distribution of the support. The members of each working committee are experts, including authors, translators, critics, experts on particular subjects and librarians. Each working committee has between five and nine members and meets from four to seven times per year. Their members are appointed by the board of the Swedish Arts Council. If any member of a working committee has a personal interest in relation to a certain book, the person concerned leaves the room and does not take part in the preparation of that dossier. The record of the meeting subsequently states which members did not take part in a particular decision because they had a personal interest in relation to that book.

Literature published electronically is assessed by all relevant working committees for the category of literature. There are potential classics in all categories of support, so classics are assessed by the respective working committee, with the exception of literature in immigrant and minority languages.

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