Why Norway Is the Best Place In the World To Be a Writer

Norway is extremely small.......really small. With a population of about 5 million, it’s the size of Alabama. So, selling half a million copies of a book there is even more remarkable than it sounds. The country is actually one of the most enviable places in the world to be a writer or publisher, and that’s because all published material in Norway is required by law to be deposited into the National Library. As long as a new Norwegian book passes quality control, the Arts Council of Norway purchases 1,000 copies of it to distribute to libraries. The purchasing program is to keep alive many small publishers that couldn’t exist otherwise. Another effect of the program is that it subsidizes writers as they build a career. They make royalties on those 1,000 copies at a better royalty rate than the contractual standard. In addition, books are exempted from Norway’s value-added tax. Along with the purchasing program, the country lends significant support to writers and other artists directly by providing them with a guaranteed income until they retire.