“Promoting reading lies at the heart of Otava’s mission”

For more than 130 years, it has been Otava’s mission to nurture education and Finnish culture. In Otava’s early days, Finland had a strong need to disassociate itself from Russia and stand as an independent nation with its own language and culture.

Otava had a role to play in this. Finns became a nation of readers who appreciate literature.

We have now come full circle: Finland became a member of NATO in 2023. We are unequivocally part of the West and Western culture. Yet even in this new era, a small nation still needs to maintain a strong culture of its own.

Promoting children’s reading is one of the most important ways of influencing learning outcomes.


People in Finland are reading less, and children in particular are less passionate about reading. And yet Finland is increasing the value-added tax on books. In Norway, for example, books are completely VAT-free. Sweden also protects its language and culture by taxing books at a much lower rate than the general VAT rate.

The deterioration in PISA learning outcomes observed in Finland became a topic of public debate during 2023. They have declined rapidly, and there was a particularly large fall in schoolchildren’s reading skills. This is alarming: if students do not learn to read properly, they won’t be able to study other subjects either. Promoting children’s reading is one of the most important ways of influencing learning outcomes.

Highly trained teachers have long been one of Finland’s particular strengths. Although teacher education is still of a high standard, studies show that teachers have too little autonomy and cannot play a big enough role in teaching.

We at Otava have also been concerned about the decline in children’s enthusiasm for reading. We seized this topic already before the pandemic and we have taken a variety of measures to encourage children to read more.



Otava’s net sales

In line with Otava’s mission, we are working to ensure that Finland will continue to be a nation of readers, and that we will be able to read Finnish books and magazines and study in Finnish.
And this mission has never been more topical than it is now.

As Alvar Renqvist said over a hundred years ago: “The awareness that, although our company is a regular limited company obligated to operate profitably for sustainable functioning, it is simultaneously in service of future purposes closely linked to the overall success of our nation. The consciousness has inspired everyone to work towards a common goal.“

I thank the entire personnel for their work towards the common cause!

Henrik Ehrnrooth
Chairman of the Board of Directors


“As a family business, Otava has a stable future and our success is in our hands.”

2023 was a very successful year for Otava financially and better than forecast. We didn’t expect it to be an easy year, as both the market situation and our operating environment were challenging. The Finnish economy was in recession. Rising interest rates, inflation, a lack of consumer confidence and changes in consumer behaviour made the economic situation difficult to predict.

However, as a family business, Otava has a stable future and our success is in our hands.

Good results were generated through hard work in all business areas for which I would like to thank all of our personnel. General literature achieved a good result. Otava Learning has invested heavily in digitalisation with excellent results. Christmas, the biggest sales season for Suomalainen Kirjakauppa, went reasonably well and the company’s result improvement was significant. Otavamedia achieved a good result and media sales outperformed the market. A reduction in the volume of printed learning materials was reflected in Otava Book Printing’s result. For Otava’s success to continue, all of its business areas must be profitable.

At the turn of 2022–2023, Otava invested in a share of the e-book subscription service provider Storytel. Otava acquired an approximately 10 per cent holding in Enento Plc through acquisitions made in December 2023 and January 2024. Enento’s main line of business is providing credit information services in Nordic markets. A mandatory public purchase offer was made for Alma Media shares in the summer and Otava’s share of ownership rose to 31.18 percent.



Otava’s EBITA

2023 was a breakthrough year for artificial intelligence in the public’s awareness. A number of our business areas have experimented with AI and personnel have received training on how to use it. We will be making increasing use of new technologies and gaining more digital expertise. We must examine the opportunities afforded by artificial intelligence with an open mind, and also weigh up its benefits in areas such as process streamlining. Although AI has already written books, it is unlikely to begin generating content.

In the autumn, we decided to move Otavamedia into Otava’s historic premises in Uudenmaankatu. This decision was enthusiastically received. Our shared premises will offer new opportunities for informal encounters and working together. Closer collaboration between business areas is also guaranteed.

Alexander Lindholm
CEO, Otava Ltd