Small Actors, Important Task. Independent Publishers and their Importance for the Transmission of French and Romance Language Fiction to Sweden Since the Turn of the Millennium


Starting from a description of today’s Swedish book market, which has seen a steady decline of French and other Romance languages as source languages for translated literature, this article investigates the importance of independent publishers for the transmission of non-anglophone fiction. In qualitative interviews, representatives of independent presses were asked to describe their business models and their relationships with big publishing houses. They were also asked to elaborate on the role of French and other Romance language fiction in Sweden today. The article’s understanding of the book market is very much based on work done by literary sociologists, such as Pascale Casanova, Hans Hertel and Johan Svedjedal. 

The results indicate that independent presses stepped in during the late 1990s, when the big publishing houses showed less and less interest in French and Romance language literature in translation. These independent publishers, with the help of clear niches, expert skills and perseverance, and in cooperation with media, showed that it was still possible to yield a profit publishing these kinds of translations. As a result, the major publishing houses once again took notice of French and other Romance language literature, engaging in competition with the smaller actors whose creation they had once brought about.


Link to article on journal webpage:

author Andreas Hedberg

Moderna språk, vol. 110, ed. Ken Benson, Mickaëlle Cedergren and Cecilia Schwartz (Uppsala: Institutionen för moderna språk, 2016), 21–30.

published 2016