Otava Publishing Company Ltd (Finnish: Kustannusosakeyhtiö Otava, Swedish: Förlagsaktiebolaget Otava) is a major Finnish publisher of books. It was founded in 1890 and is now the second largest publisher in Finland. It publishes fiction, non-fiction, books for teenagers and children, multimedia and teaching materials. The number of new titles exceeds 400 a year. Otava has also been at the forefront of encyclopedia publishing in Finland with many well-known series, such as the Otavan Suuri Ensyklopedia (The Great Otava Encyclopedia). Writers whose work Otava has published over the years include Frans Emil Sillanpää, Eino Leino, Paavo Haavikko, Pentti Saarikoski and Laila Hirvisaari. The parent company Otava Group also owns the major bookstore chain, Suomalainen Kirjakauppa.

Otava Publishing Company
Kustannusosakeyhtiö Otava
Otava headquarters building in central Helsinki, designed by Karl Lindahl and Walter Thomé in 1905
Parent companyOtava Group
FounderHannes Gebhard and Eliel Aspelin-Haapkylä
Country of originFinland
Headquarters locationHelsinki
Publication typesBooks
Official websitewww.otava.fi

The name "Otava" refers to the Big Dipper.[1]



Otava was founded in 1890 by Hannes Gebhard and Eliel Aspelin-Haapkylä to publish Finnish national literature.[2] Alvar Renqvist [fi] became managing director in 1893[1] and was the main figure during the company's early years. His descendants (surname fennicized to Reenpää) have continued his work so that Otava remains, in spite of its size, to a large extent a family company. 1906 saw the completion of the new headquarters right in the centre of Helsinki. In 1908 printing press operations began and in 1916 the printing of magazines got under way. The first magazine to be launched was Suomen Kuvalehti, which still comes out weekly.[2] From 1945 to 1991 the company was listed in the Helsinki Stock Exchange. In 1955 a new printing house was put up in Keuruu, near Jyväskylä. During the 1960s Otava faced grave financial difficulties but was able to pull through by rationalizing operations. In 1998 it bought out its rival company WSOY from the jointly owned Yhtyneet Kuvalehdet, a large publisher of magazines.




  1. ^ a b Schoolfield, George C. (1996). Helsinki of the Czars: Finland's Capital, 1808–1918. Studies in Scandinavian literature and culture. Columbia, South Carolina: Camden House. ISBN 9781571130266.
  2. ^ a b "Olli Reenpää" (PDF). EY Family Business Yearbook. Otava Ltd. 2014. Retrieved 10 February 2015.