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English books take pride of place on Swiss shelves

Works by foreign authors are becoming increasingly popular in Switzerland


Novels originally published in English accounted for half of all fictional works translated in Switzerland during 2000. Overall, slightly more books were published than last year, although fewer German-language titles hit the shelves.

The head of acquisitions at the National Library, Philippe Girard, said most of the novels translated in Switzerland this year came from Britain and the United States.

He said foreign writers were becoming increasingly popular among Swiss readers, particularly authors of children's books, which accounted for 56 per cent of all translations in 2000.

"The popularity of [foreign] children's books explains, without a doubt, why translated works grew to 13 per cent, up from 11 per cent one year ago," said Girard.

A total of 14,000 books were published in Switzerland during 2000, a slight increase over the previous year, when 13,700 titles were released.

German-language books continue to dominate Switzerland's literary scene - accounting for 57 per cent of all titles published - although the number declined by two per cent in 2000.

By contrast, the number of French and Italian-language books published grew by two per cent, and account for 21 and 5 per cent respectively.

The remaining 17 per cent consists of books published in other languages, primarily English.

swissinfo with agencies

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