18 Feb A Close Look at Finnish Publishing with Outi Karemaa (S3 E4)
By Marleen Seegers, Co-Founder of 2 Seas Agency and Host of The Make Books Travel Podcast
February 15, 2022
Today I am speaking with Finnish publisher Outi Karemaa. I personally find the Nordic publishing market fascinating, not least because it is relatively difficult to sell into those markets. I like challenges!
Outi and I speak about those challenges, the state of the Finnish publishing market, and also about the rising popularity, and therefore competition, of English-language books on the Finnish market — which we’re seeing in other Nordic countries and the Netherlands as well.
Here are some of the questions I asked Outi:
- What are the most important bookstore chains in Finland?
- Are there many independent booksellers?
- How much of the sales take place online, and is Amazon a key player?
- Have book sales increased since the beginning of the pandemic, as we’ve seen elsewhere?
- Are certain formats (e.g. audiobooks) seeing a particularly strong growth?
- How about specific genres that may or may not do well at the moment?
- How have the audiobook and ebook markets developed for Minerva in recent years?
- What is your take on the difficulty for foreign rights sellers to penetrate the Nordic market for non-Nordic titles?
Outi’s book recommendations:
- The Spy and the Traitor (Crown, 2019) and Agent Sonya: Moscow’s Most Daring Wartime Spy (Crown, 2020) by Ben Macintyre
- The Mitford Murders (series) by Jessica Fellowes (Minotaur Books)
Outi Karemaa (born 1969) is an experienced Chief Executive with a long history of working in the publishing business. She is a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) focused on history from the University of Helsinki.
Outi started her career in the publishing business 1998 and worked at Edita Publishing as a Publishing Manager and then as a Publishing Director. In 2010 she started as a CEO of Metsäkustannus, which is a publisher of magazines and books.
In 2019 Outi started as a CEO at book publisher Minerva. After the biggest book publisher of Finland WSOY (Werner Söderström Ltd.) bought Minerva a year ago, her title has been a Publisher. Minerva is nowadays an imprint of WSOY, so Minerva still has its own publishing list. Minerva’s main areas are fiction, general non-fiction, as well as gift and hobby books and books for children. Outi lives in Helsinki with her family and a very social cat.