Each year ahead of Hebrew Book Week, the National Library of Israel announces statistics on the Israeli publishing industry based on entries to the library as a result of the Legal Deposit Law, which requires anyone in Israel who publishes more than 50 copies of a book to provide two copies to the library in Jerusalem.
Of the 7,344 books sent to the library in 2021, 25% are exclusively classified as prose and poetry. Just over half, 52%, were credited to female authors, giving them a majority for the first time since the library began collecting statistics.
Among the notable releases by women were “A Penguin Café at the Edge of the World,” a children’s story by author and poet Nurit Zarchi, recipient of the 2021 Israel Prize for literature, and “Strangers,” a bestselling novel by author Lihi Lapid, advocate and wife of Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid.
The overall number of books published suggests a rebound for the Israeli publishing industry, with a 13.2% jump from the slump of 2020.
Approximately 92% of books published in Israel in 2021 were in Hebrew, with 4.8% in English, 2.2% in Arabic and a handful in Russian.