Female Hebrew authors eclipse males for first time, National Library says

The National Library of Israel has released Israeli publishing figures for 2021, as it does every year ahead of Hebrew Book Week.

The data points to a resurgence in the Israeli book market and indicates that for the first time, female authors have published more books of Hebrew prose and poetry than their male counterparts.

A resurgence in the book market was evident in 2021, following a COVID-related crisis in 2020. In 2021, a total of 7,344 print books were published in Israel, in addition to 982 digital books.

This represents an increase from the previous year when only 6,487 books were published, but still less than the record figures of 2018 and 2019 when over 8,000 books were published each of those years. These figures do not include final articles written in academic contexts, academic journals, magazines or news articles.

In 2021, 447 biographies and autobiographies were published in Israel, mostly by independent publishing houses; 72% were written about men and only 28% about women. There were 381 releases in the “Educational Books” category, with most of them focusing on empowerment, relationships and family life, and how to make money. Some 74 books were published in 2021 dealing directly with the pandemic.

The majority of books published in Israel were in Hebrew: 91.4%; 4.8% were published in English; 2.2% in Arabic; 0.6% in Russian; and 1% in other languages.

“Books published in Israel by subject 2019-2021.” Credit: National Library of Israel.

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