Non-Fiction and Leisure
299 biographies were written this year, of them 125 were autobiographies (some of which were only published after the death of their authors), 114 books about the Land of Israel from a historical, archaeological and natural perspective, as well as 173 books about the history of Israel, 720 books about the State of Israel from social and political perspectives and so forth arrived at the Library.
38 books of Arabic literature were added to the Library's shelves this year as well as 23 books about Hebrew and Arabic grammar. In addition, 84 legal works were received.
Only 76 books about the Israeli-Arab conflict came out this year, another decrease in addition to the decrease last year (124).
143 guides to culture and leisure and 31 additional guides share a place with 287 books on art and folklore.
157 books on popular science, nature and mathematics were processed this year, a large increase relative to last year (80).
The Children and Young Adult Bookshelf
In total, 879 books written for children arrived at the Library this year – a small increase in comparison to the 860 last year. This number does not include 263 text books (a decrease from 300). There is a rise in the number of translated children's books (mostly from English) published in Israeli editions: 367 compared to 218 last year.
22 of the children's books are in Arabic, while 94 books for the religious and the Ultra-Orthodox sector were published this year.
The books come in a wide variety of shapes and forms. This year 66 board books, 50 books with moving parts , 49 in unique shapes with accompanying materials, such as a small piano (the total number of books is less than the sum of its parts, since some of them are included in less than one group) were published.
The subjects of children's books are also varied. More than 100 books on the subject of animals were published, the most popular animal being cats (22). Even lice merited two titles, and obviously bears, birds and snakes were written about as well. 88 science fiction and fantasy books were registered in the Library this year, including 43 general fantasy books, 20 about witches, 3 about vampires and 9 about aliens. Children also love to read about themselves: 40 books about brothers and sisters, 19 books about parents, 41 books about friendship and 10 books about interpersonal relationships that were published are evidence of the demand for books in this area.
Children also received 26 books of poetry and 57 books in rhyme. 14 encyclopedias, dictionaries and science books were registered – less than in the past, 6 books about the Holocaust, 5 history books, and 16 biographies.
This is only the tip of the iceberg. Over 100 more subjects can be listed, including krav maga (2), angels (7), fairies (15), transportation (11), the wives of rabbis (2), and more.
In Children's Literature –- is it a time for women?
Research into the gender of the authors of children's books was stymied by a number of problems. One problem is the anonymity of authors who hide their names under pseudonyms or do not list their first name. This phenomenon is common among the Ultra-Orthodox. Thus, one often finds books written by A. Bat-Melech, or "Leah'leh's Mother". Another issue is that there are many names that are not specific to one gender, such as Hadar, Daniel and more. The Library's catalogue does not include vowels, and so it is difficult to distinguish, for example, between Hallel and Hillel?
Nonetheless, a number of interesting statistics emerged. Women authors lead in children's literature. 357 female authors composed 505 children's books, while 241 men wrote 331 books. The two most productive authors this year, Galila Ron-Feder-Amit and Menuchah Fox, lead the market in children's literature. In a list of authors who have composed 4 or more books, there are 12 women and 10 men. On average, female authors published 1.41 books this year in comparison to 1.36 published by men.
An interesting statistic is the gap between men and women in the number of original Israeli authors. In translated literature, the gap is small – there are only 14% more female authors than men (198 as opposed to 168). In original Israeli children's literature, however, the difference is more prominent –there are 81% more women authors than men (307 as opposed to 169).
Seven Years of Children's Literature
This year we decided to analyze children's literature between the years 2007-2013. Seven years is a decent amount of time and it allows us to get a slightly more in-depth picture of the children's literature industry in Israel. In all, during these years 5,874 children's and young adult books were published. The great majority, 5,506 (93%) were published in Hebrew, followed by Arabic (196) and English (96); the rest of the languages amount to only 76 books. This statistic is very different when it comes to adult prose, in which only 83% of literature was originally written in Hebrew.
The percentage of translated children's literature is a little bit higher (38%) in relation to adult literature (35% translated). The most popular translated language is English (73%), but German (8%), French (4%) and 18 other languages, including Korean and Slovenian are also worth mentioning.
It is even more interesting to see how many writers are involved in writing for our children. There are more than 2,800 authors who have published books in Israel – on average only 2 books per author. Leading the list is Menucha Fox, an Ultra-Orthodox author who has published more than 120 books during these years (and even more translations into English, published abroad). Galila Ron-Feder-Amit has published about 100 books, and at least 14 additional authors have published over 20 children's books including Asadi Maysoon, an author who writes in Arabic. 7 authors who write in Arabic were included in the 100 most productive children's writers. In general, 1,987 authors have written only one book.
The Digital Book
This year there was a marked increase in the number of electronic books that were processed into the Library's system. 215 new e-books from 2013 and another 140 e-books from previous years were added. The increase is significant, though it lags behind the increase in the United States. 130 of the new e-books were published by commercial publishers (mostly 3 big ones), 38 by academic institutions and the rest by private individuals and bodies. Due to copyright restrictions, these books are accessible only from within the library building.
There is still something to read with breakfast. 17 newspapers are published daily, along with more than 300 magazines and weeklies and more than 100 magazines that are published on a changing frequency, rangingfrom bi-weeklies to quarterlies. All in all, every year 3,497 periodicals of all types and on every subject arrive at the National Library.
Publishers that submit their publications to the National Library are listed in the Israeli Publishers Database. This is a comprehensive database of the Israeli publishing world, both past and present.
1,664 publishers and publishing bodies are listed in the Database. Of these, 1,099 are commercial publishing houses and 520 are organizations and institutions whose primary business is not publishing, but who produce and publish various publications. 530 of the publishers and organizations listed in the database publish books for the religious and orthodox sectors.
44 Publishers listed in the database publish primarily in English, while 341 publishers publish in English as well as Hebrew. 28 publishers publish mainly in Russian, and another 51 publishers publish in Russian in addition to Hebrew. 35 publishers publish mainly in Arabic, and 52 publish in Arabic in addition to Hebrew or other languages.
Israeli Publishers Database: The History of Publishing Houses in Israel
The Israeli Publishers Database is a vast resource of information on the history of publishing in Israel. Its importance lies not only in its national and historic value, but also in its practical value. The database traces the copyright of works published in Israel and makes it possible to locate copyright holders and heirs to publishing houses that no longer exist. Together with the active publishing houses, 211 inactive publishing houses are listed in the database.
Oren Weinberg, the director of the National Library, notes that in recent years the awareness has grown among publishers – private and public – regarding the importance of submitting books, newspapers and all other relevant publications to the National Library. This improves the Library's ability to measure and estimate the important information garnered by a field called Bibliometrics.
"By a correct analysis of the Israeli publishing world we can learn a lot about the directions and patterns in the fields of leisure, culture, public interest, ways of thinking, social and cultural influences from outside the State and within Israeli society itself and more. Reading and distribution patterns often indicate changes and new directions among the Israeli public and in many cases rationally bolster the "gut feelings" of academics and of the public", says Weinberg.
Among the most interesting phenomenon in the past few years is, for instance, the steady growth in the number of children's books published every year (both original fiction and textbooks). Other interesting statistics come from non-fiction: the large number of biographies and autobiographies, the constant drop in the number of books that deal with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and a slow but steady rise in religious and halachik publications. One of the most interesting phenomena of recent years, perhaps, is the addition of e-books into the Israeli book market.
The director of the Library would like to thank David Hanegbi, Dr. Noa Fink, Chani Pe'ar, Esther Guggenheim, and Nachum Zitter who helped write this report. The director of the Library would like to thank David Hanegbi, Dr. Noa Fink, Chani Pe'ar, Esther Guggenheim, and Nachum Zitter who helped write this report.