En hel roman för en femma : Utgivningspolitik inom En bok för alla 1976–1979

Detta är en Master-uppsats från Södertörns högskola/Idéhistoria

Sammanfattning: The Swedish publishing company En bok för alla (which translates as “A book for everyone”) was established in 1976 following a decision in the Swedish parliament granting the right of the government to sign a cooperative agreement with the non-profit foundation Litteraturfrämjandet. Using state funds, the publishing company would publish books of high literary value to be sold at low prices over a three-year period. The purpose of this was to combat the kind of literature that was sold at supermarkets and corner shops, and which was deemed being of low literary value, but also to reach the wider public and attract non-readers. In this study I argue that the establishment of En bok för alla must be viewed as an expression of Swedish cultural policy which took form in the early years of the 1970s. Two years prior to En bok för alla being established the Swedish parliament passed the first cultural policy act of Sweden, thus laying the groundwork for cultural policy to come. In this act, it is stated that aim of Swedish cultural policy was to contribute to a better social environment and to work for the furtherance of equality. This would be achieved by, among other things, minimizing the negative effects of commercial interests in the cultural sphere and decentralizing the production and distribution of culture. During the 1960s and 1970s, books had become increasingly expensive and books of higher literary quality were both more difficult and more expensive than their lower quality counterparts. I argue that many looked at this as a shortcoming on the part of the above mentioned commercial interests, who valued money more than literature. I will also show how some these ambitions, bold though they may have been, in the end fell short of accomplishing the goal of En bok för alla. Though they did succeed in publishing books at low costs, the question of whether they were of high literary quality or not I can’t say, they did not seem to reach the wider audience they had hoped to attract. Following the Swedish election of 2006 and the subsequent change of government, the state funds for En bok för alla were withdrawn in 2007. The argument given for this was that the book market had changed since 1976. This was of course true, but in my opinion the need for these high-quality dime-store books is perhaps even more acute today than ever before. In a time when smartphones, television and computers all compete for our attention, I believe that it is becoming an increasingly important task for our society to secure the role of books and reading in the world of media.

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