The Publishing House in Oslo
Schibsted Forlag publishing house is a fully owned subsidiary of the Schibsted Norge AS, and is among the leading publishers of books in Norway.
The company is the result of a merger of eight different publishing units within Schibsted. One of these units was Chr. Schibsteds Forlag, the publishing house that was established by the printer Christian Schibsted in Christiania (now Oslo) in 1839 and which proceeded to the establishment of the broadsheet newspaper, Aftenposten, Mr Schibsted’s first venture into the world of media.
This makes Schibsted Forlag the starting point for Schibsted, and the basis of what is today Norway’s largest and one of Scandinavia’s leading media groups.
Schibsted Forlag has a diverse portfolio comprising of fiction, non-fiction, children’s books, light fiction, annuals, magazines, comics and language courses. In addition, the publishing house imports and stocks foreign book titles, with particular emphasis on English-language literature, travel guides and coffee table books.
Diversity and quality
Schibsted Forlag is one of Norway’s leading publishers of factual books and annuals. Popular titles include Guinness World Records, Sportsboken, Fotballboken, Værdagsboken and Polets 500 beste. It is, however, Hvem Hva Hvor that is the most widely known among all of Schibsted Forlag’s annuals. It has been published since 1936 with more than four million copies in total.
The long list of authors connected to Schibsted Forlag consists of many known names, such as Dag Evjenth, Niels Chr. Geelmuyden, Per Egil Hegge, Sigurd B. Hennum, Siri M. Kalvig, Dag Otto Lauritzen, Atle Nielsen, Håvard Rem, Geir Salvesen, Tommy Sørbø and Knut Olav Åmås, to mention a few of the Norwegian non-fiction writers that have most frequently contributed to the publisher’s book catalogues in recent years.
The priest, author, government grant holder, leader of the pastoral care unit at Modum Bad, and columnist, Per Arne Dahl, has for a long time had his books published by Schibsted Forlag. Over the years, the number of titles has been substantial. Both within the publishing house and among his audience “this year’s Dahl” has become a catch phrase. The underlying topic of Per Arne Dahl’s books is the conditions of been a human being in our time - or, more simply put, how to live. Dahl’s writings are filled with warmth, wisdom and afterthought, and he has gained a special position as an author within the publishing house and among his many regular readers.
Fiction on the rise
Schibsted Forlag’s translated fiction has experienced a prominent growth in recent years, and the publishing house has had an astonishing success in this area both among the critics and the audience.
Schibsted Forlag is the Norwegian publisher of the Afghan American author Khaled Hosseini, who has mesmerized Norwegians with his books Drageløperen (English title The Kite Runner) and Tusen strålende soler (English title A Thousand Splendid Suns). He was Norway’s bestselling author in 2008, and both titles have been printed in a high number of copies in this country.
The British author Victoria Hislop and her book Øya (English title The Island) has been a success both with critics and the reading audience. The same can be said about the Australian writer Kate Morton and her books Tilbake til Riverton (English title The House at Riverton; also known as The Shifting Fog) and Den glemte hagen (English title The Forgotten Garden).
The launch of the books by Brits Sebastian Faulks and Elizabeth Noble on the Norwegian market has also been well noted. Within the crime genre, Schibsted Forlag has succeeded with its publishing of the books Midtvinterblod (English title Midwinter Sacrifice) and Sommerdøden (English title Summertime Death) by the Swedish author Mons Kallentoft.
These are but a few examples of how Schibsted Forlag is strategically developing itself as a publisher of translated fiction - and gradually expanding its repertoire of Norwegian fiction.
Light fiction - a cornerstone
Light fiction is one of the cornerstones of the publishing house, which in 1949 introduced the paperback format to Norway. Well known authors such as Rudolf Muus, Kjell Hallbing and Margit Sandemo have strongly contributed to the popularity of the Norwegian series fiction. To Schibsted Forlag this is part of the company’s history that it is highly committed to. Margit Sandemo, the bestselling Nordic author particularly known for her series Sagaen om Isfolket (English title The Legend of the Ice People), is now in her later years, but still writing for Schibsted Forlag.
In recent years, a new generation of light fiction authors has emerged at Schibsted Forlag. Among the many popular writers are Trine Angelsen and her series Thea, Laila Brenden, who writes the Hannah series, and Bente Pedersen, who is the author of the series Tre søstre. These three authors are all experiencing great successes with their books among the audience. So far, between one and two million copies have been made of each series.
Schibsted Forlag is continually on the search for new talents within the light fiction genre, and launched no less than three new series in 2009.
In addition, the publishing house is the Norwegian publisher of several internationally renowned light fiction authors.
Great diversity for children and youngsters
Schibsted Forlag has for many years focused on literature for children, with many comics and children’s books in its portfolio. This part of the company is in constant development, as young readers are a demanding and picky target audience. The new media platforms have a high standing in this group, and gives a traditionally book-oriented publishing house new challenges and opportunities.
Luckily, this does not mean that children and young adults have stopped reading, a fact that the overwhelming success of the Harry Potter series is proof of. Literature for this young audience is another area of growth for the publishing house. Schibsted Forlag has a wide specter of publications within this area, and aims to provide relevant and interesting quality products to all age groups, from the youngest children up to and including teenagers. The portfolio consists of activity books, comics in magazine and paperback format, fiction series, quiz books, educational literature and youth novels.
Schibsted Forlag also publishes special Christmas editions of popular comics, as well as cartoon booklets, albums and books aimed at the adult reader. The most famous title is Kollektivet.