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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Uncovering a Cover: Marketing Swedish Crime Fiction in a Transnational Context


During the twenty-first century, Swedish crime fiction became an international phenomenon and turned into a million-dollar industry. Besides being translated all over the world, the crime novels are converted into movies and TV series in Sweden, while remakes of these films are produced abroad. This success story is closely interwoven with the international book market and publishing houses’ marketing strategies. This article investigates how domestic literature is marketed in a globalized book market.

The article explores how these bestsellers are represented and designed to catch attention and attract a reader in a foreign setting. How is a visual story created by marketing strategies, through jacket designs and promotional images? How do these strategies create a global imaginary and put the book itself into play with other media? The article adapts a comparative perspective to illuminate similarities and differences between marketing strategies in a transnational context. The emphasis will be on the American book market, a choice motivated by USA’s hegemonic position in Western culture and its globalized entertainment business.

The article will analyze source material from authors such as Arne Dahl, Mari Jungstedt, Lars Kepler, Jens Lapidus, Stieg Larsson, Åsa Larsson, Camilla Läckberg Henning Mankell, Liza Marklund, Leif G. W. Persson, and Maj Sjöwall & Per Wahlöö.

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