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Opinion

The Finnish love affair with literature

Finland is the perfect place for a bibliophile. The culture supports the entire literary process, from writing a book to making it accessible to readers. Anyone can wander into a university and check out the latest issue of the Astrophysical Journal. The library system is so excellent that Finland actually has a library boat to […]

Finland is the perfect place for a bibliophile. The culture supports the entire literary process, from writing a book to making it accessible to readers. Anyone can wander into a university and check out the latest issue of the Astrophysical Journal. The library system is so excellent that Finland actually has a library boat to serve people on remote islands. And whenever I am introduced to new people I’m always “that guy who wrote the Nokia book.”

That’s not to say that Finland has avoided the mass disruption caused by digitalisation. But digitalisation doesn’t change the fact that people still want to read good content. Finns remain avid readers, whether that content is in thick hardbacks or e-readers.

Big publishers are changing how they operate, and small ones are springing up to take advantage of the new digital era. Förlaget is one such example: a brand new publisher backed by Moomin Characters Ltd. The executives of Förlaget have long experience in digital services and publishing, and they aren’t content with simply printing books.

Another interesting new channel is mobile gaming. I keep seeing more and more “help wanted” ads from Finnish gaming companies looking for writers. This makes sense, of course: a game is simply an interactive story, but the story still needs to be told. Who better to do that than a writer?

So the next time you see a crowd of Finns at a bus stop staring at their mobile phones, don’t lament the digital culture. They just might be reading (or playing) the work of some great writer.

 

Photo: Marianne Salminen

Published on 15.09.2016