Library > Legal Deposit > Statistics > Statistics for 2014

Statistics for 2014

​ In honor of Hebrew Book Week 2015, the National Library released the yearly statistics on Israeli publishing over the past year (2014). Among the exceptional findings:


 •​ There was a slight increase in the overall number of publications, but a significant drop in the number of books printed (243 fewer than last year).
 • ​ The number of books in the prose category climbed significantly in Russian (98) and in Arabic (66).
 • ​ Publication of non-fiction on Jewish history and the Israeli-Arab conflict continues to decline, while there is a significant increase in popular science and nature books.
 • ​
  • The number of translated works for children and young adults has plummeted (261 in contrast to 367 in 2013).
 • ​ Children and young adult books: 54% of the books are for pre-school, 32% for elementary school, and 14% for young adults (7th-12th grade).
 • ​ Most of the books for young adults are fantasy and science fiction, and only one addresses the topic of teen pregnancy…
 • ​​
  • Twenty publishers are responsible for 52% of all commercial publishing. A total of 350 publishers and 400 non-profits published books this year.
 • ​​ Approximately 20% of the publications are self-published.
 • ​​​There are fifteen daily newspapers in Israel, in addition to 480 magazines, weeklies and local papers.
 • ​​​In 2014, the library received 417 electronic books and 480 audio books (mostly classics and popular children’s books).
In anticipation of the launch date of Hebrew Book Week (June 3, 2015), the National Library published the annual statistics on Israeli publishing, translated books, types of publishers and their specialties, as well as other interesting and important topics that may be instructive regarding literary, social and cultural trends in Israel. The data pertain to 2014. This year, the report focuses on the Law for the Protection of Literature and Authors in Israel, examining a number of aspects of the law and its influence.

As is known, according to law, a copy of every publication printed or produced in Israel must be submitted to the National Library. This includes books, newspapers, journals, CDs, and in recent years, also digital and audio books.


New Publications in 2014

 New Publications in 2014

The moderate increase observed in 2013 slowed in 2014, and publication in all formats increased by 2% only. Overall, 8,614 new publications were received by the library, only 203 more than last year. In addition, this is the first year in recent times that there has been a decrease (by 243 books) in the number of published books. The publications divide into 7,628 books, 218 CDs, 26 maps, 256 new journals and 489 audio books.

Hebrew and Other Languages

 Of the new books registered in the National Library this year, 6,899 are in Hebrew, 263 in English, 204 in Russian and 173 in Arabic. The remaining 89 books were published in 14 languages. Especially noteworthy are the 10 books in Romanian and the increase in publications in French (31 relative to 11 last year).

There was a notably sharp rise in original Hebrew publications (85% versus 82% last year) relative to translated publications. The most significant increase is in literature, versus a drop in most areas of non-fiction and literature. A total of 923 books were translated from foreign languages: English (701) leads as the preferred source language for translations, but translations were also published of 33 additional languages.


 Books by Language

 Source Languages


A geographical breakdown of source languages (not including English) shows a clear preference for European literature, with German (41) and French (57) leading far ahead of other languages, certainly rare languages such as Latin (4) and of course, Occitan (1), and two Buddhist translations from the Pali language.

Two hundred and ten books were translated in Israel from Hebrew into foreign languages, of them 161 multi-lingual publications, including Hebrew, and 49 that feature just the translated text, of which the largest category is translations into English (31).


What did we read in 2014?

This year saw a continuation of the trend of a growth in adult literature. 1,378 books were recorded for adults at the library this year, an increase compared to 1,257 last year. Of them, 1,175 are in Hebrew. A total of 98 books in Russian and 66 in Arabic were recorded. From among all of the books, 1,014 are original literature. The great majority of translated literature continues to be from English, but we also read books that originated in 26 other languages, led by French (23) and German (12).

 Original Literature in Hebrew by Genre

 Original Literature (Except Hebrew)

Out of the original books, 814 were published in Hebrew. There was also a significant increase in Russian (98) and Arabic (66).

Analysis of the literary types of original literature in a range of languages shows a variety in the offerings to the Israeli readership. Continuing last year’s accelerated growth, the library received 133 original short-story collections, 116 of them in Hebrew (an increase from 63 last year and 52 two years ago). In poetry, the numbers are stable: 402 original poetry collections arrived at the library, of them 315 in Hebrew and 58 (!) in Russian. Fourteen plays joined the 485 books of prose fiction.


 Original Hebrew Literature

Non-fiction and Leisure

Slight decreases were registered in the scope of non-fiction publishing. In the category of biographies, 273 were written this year (a decrease from 295), of which 109 were autobiographies, some posthumously published. Only 76 books about Eretz Israel from an historical, archaeological or natural perspective joined the library catalogue (a decline from 114 last year) as well as 155 books on Jewish history. On the topic of the State of Israel from the angles of sociology, political science and other perspectives, the library received 644 books (720 last year). Only 74 books on the topic of the Israeli-Arab conflict were published this year, a further drop following last year's decline (76, and two years ago, 124).

Sixty-eight works of literature in Arabic joined the library's shelves this year. Hebrew and Arabic together produced 32 books on language and linguistics. In addition, 112 law books – most for experts and some for a general readership – joined their predecessors at the library.

The library also registered 502 books in the realm of rabbinics, 223 books of ethics and homilies, and 134  books of Bible commentary and scholarship. In Jewish thought, 37 new titles were added (a drop from 76) and 166 original works and studies were published in kabbalah and Hasidism (a decline from 215), a surprising drop relative to the previous year.

129 culture and leisure guides and 27 additional guides share the shelves with 235 art and folklore books.

Like to cook? Thirty-five new cookbooks were written for you this year, including holiday cooking, cooking from the Bible, recipes for vegans, and no small number of companies convinced that cooking with their products will improve the taste of the dishes you prepare.

134 books on popular science, nature and mathematics joined the library this year, a sharp increase from last year (80).


The Children and Young Adult Bookshelf

This year, 855 books for children and youth were registered at the National Library, a slight decline from 879 last year. This number does not include 221 textbooks registered at the library (a decrease from 300 two years ago). The percentage of translated children's and young adult literature plummeted this year (261 versus 367) – see itemization below.

These children's and young adult books include 20 children's books in Arabic and 99 intended for the religious and ultra-Orthodox sectors.


 Children's Books by Target Audience


This year we chose to analyze the young adult books and the publishing patterns of children’s books at various levels, across all languages. The books were divided into three intended audiences: preschool (up to 1st grade), children (up to 6th grade) and youth (grades 7-12). This breakdown shows great variety in the types of publication and preferences of children and parents – or the considerations of the publishing houses and publishers for this market sector.


 Self-Publishing – Children's Books

 Translated Children's Books

Preschool children are inundated with new books, while in contrast, only 117 books intended for a young adult audience were received. In keeping with a more general trend in the world of Israeli books, in the category of books intended for preschool, there is a relatively high percentage of self-published books (13% compared to 5% in young adult books). This is consistent with the strong control held by a small number of publishers: only five were responsible for 71 young adult books (60%)! In books for children and preschool, the distribution is wider. It appears that it is difficult for authors to penetrate the market, and they choose to do so by producing, marketing and distributing books independently, without using a commercial press.

The biggest difference is in the area of original children's books for every age level. In books intended for preschool, it turns out that most are Israelis who want to publish a new story for their children and grandchildren – 81% are original literature. However, in contrast, Israeli youth feeds mostly on by works originating from abroad!



What do young people read between 7th grade and the time when they begin reading adult fiction?

A wide variety of topics. The data answer clearly: the prefer fiction – 86% of the stories they read are fiction. There is a broad range of topics,The topics vary widely – some of the more notable are depicted in the chart below (since the books cover many topics, the total does not reach 100%). The significance of the topics becomes clear when they are compared between different population groups: fantasy and science fiction dominate young adult fiction twice more than adult fiction (34 versus 18). Family and friendship are key topics in young adult literature. Only one book was received that dealt with teen pregnancy.

 Youth Books by Subject

Does the Law for the Protection of Literature and Authors Have an Effect?

The Law for the Protection of Literature and Authors probably affects a wide variety of realms, from changes in the quantity of titles published, to how writers work with publishers or without them, writer compensation, the entry of new writers to the book market, and more. Of course, some of these ramifications affect consumers, for example in the genres available   and in book prices. Since the proposed law, there has been much discussion of its potential effects. In what follows, we present data on Israeli publishing in general. To these data one must add information about sales, prices and royalties, which are not in the realm of the library. To gain a fuller picture, one would have to collate all of the information and draw conclusions – each according to his or her method.

During the past ten years, one can see certain deviations relative to the proportion between the number of publishers and various publishing categories. Of the books published this year, 60% were published by commercial publishers (59% last year), and there is not large difference between government agencies (4%) and higher education (5%). Independent publishing grew (by 20%) at the expense of non-profit publishing (11% in comparison to 15% last year).

 Publisher Type

 Publishing Type

​To the quantity of publications by institutions of higher learning one must also add the 1,139 doctoral dissertations and 1,572 master’s theses. In both we see a slow tend towards growth during the twelve years that this report has been issued. This reflects an improvement in universities’ commitment to making scientific output accessible to the public-at-large, as well as an increase in academic activity in Israel.

It is interesting to note the differences in publication in the religious sector versus publishing overall. In the religious sector, self-publishing is very common, particularly in rabbinic literature, and reaches a rate of 50% of all publishers. In contrast, 74% of books not intended for the religious sector are published in commercial presses, and only 17% are truly independently published.

 Publishing Differences


How many publishers are there?

In previous years, the library provided a figure for the overall number of entities that published books. This picture, however, is partial, since there are vast differences in the realm of Israeli publishing: very the few companies are in the publishing elite, while many hundreds publish one or two books per year. How should we differentiate between them? In the following table – which is somewhat complex  – the publishers are divided according to size and population segment. Each row relates to a different category of publisher.  The columns are arranged according to rank of the publishing houses, non-profits and other publishers based on the number of titles issued annually.
The results? Only six publishers issue more than 100 books per year, all unaffiliated with a particular segment of the population. Twenty large publishers are responsible for 52% of the total commercial publications in Israel. This year, the average number of titles published by a publishing house increased from 9.8 to almost 11.

The percentage of books published privately did not change significantly in the general sector, but there was a decisive change in the percentage of publishers. There was an increase of 36% in the number of people who publish privately. The number of religious non-profits that publish books also increased by 31%, in contrast to a reduction of 19% in ultra-Orthodox publishing.


Partially-Independent Publishing

Publication funded privately by the author has been a growing phenomenon in recent years. Much remains unknown in this realm, since both publishers and authors prefer not to reveal that the works are self-funded, out of a fear of public response and damage to the image both of the author and the press. In most cases, this information is not stated anywhere in the book. Despite this, according to our sources, at least 7% of all commercial publishing is fully funded by the authors (in literature the percentages are higher). Our staff estimates that the numbers may reach 30% or more in which authors participate substantially in publication costs, while the percentage is even higher in the case of original poetry.

Publishing Locations

In all that pertains to the place of operation of publishing houses, two opposing trends continue. On the one hand, the concentration of publishing in key places continues to grow stronger, with Jerusalem in the lead (31%) followed by Tel Aviv (22%), Bnei Brak (7%), Or Yehudah (4%) and Haifa (3%). On the other hand, the overall number of locations where books were published continues to grow, and today stands at 230 cities and other localities in Israel. Joining the list of the 20 leading localities this year were Kiryat Bialik and Azor, while Herzliya and Beersheba disappeared from the list.

 Publishers in Israel

 Books by Publishing Location

Database of Publishers

Over the years the National Library has created the Israeli Publishers Database. In our 2015 project the library will upgrade the database, making it possible to identify books published by a particular publisher, even through the history of mergers and name changes that characterize the field.

Journals and Newspapers

Of late, in addition to the physical collection of newspapers, the library has also begun adding digital volumes of journals: 3,497 journals and newspapers sent over 31,000 printed volumes and 1,611 electronic editions to the National Library. The substantial increase in the number of volumes arises mainly from a change in the indexing method and is not evidence of a jump in the number of volumes published.

Is all the news on the Internet? Not exactly. There is still something to read with breakfast. Fifteen newspapers are issued daily, and over 480 magazines, weeklies and local newsletters land on our table every week or with even greater frequency. In total, 3,679 journals and newspapers reach the library every year on a wide variety of topics. It is necessary to add to this number a broad diversity of newsletters of various institutions, pamphlets on the weekly Torah portion, and additional local material not all of which reaches the library.


 Journals by Publication Frequency

 Journals by Publisher Type

During the past year, the National Library launched an experimental site (active only within the library building) known as E-tonut (“electronic journals,” Heb. “תונותE”). The site contains editions of newspapers on a daily basis, and in the future, it will be possible to perform text searches, as is already possible on the Jewish Historical Newspapers site, which, operated jointly by the National Library and Tel Aviv University, has been active for over 15 years, and includes over 1,200,000 scanned newspaper pages from Israel and abroad, from the dates 1843-1947.

The Digital Book

The gradual trend towards growth in online publishing continues (with an increase of 17%). This year, 417 e-books were registered with the library, 317 published this year and 100 published during previous years. Twenty percent are published entirely independently by the authors. Over 20% are published by companies in the field of self-publication. Approximately one half of books were published by a commercial publishing house.

For copyright reasons, copies of electronic books owned by the National Library are accessible only from within the library premises.

This year, the library made a decision to also add audio books to its collection, a category that is gaining momentum in Israel, as is accepted abroad. 489 such books, most of which through a single company, were processed into the library's system. These recordings include well known works of children's literature and adult prose, read by narrators.

 Digital Books