Italy: Distributor Emmelibri-Messaggerie and Book Chain Libraccio Merge

Libraccio is Italy’s leading chain of independent bookstores, today with 61 stores operating in 34 cities and seven regions of the country. Italy’s distribution powerhouse Emmelibri-Messaggerie has increased its ownership in Libraccio’s holding company, DMB, to secure a 51-percent majority stake, subject to approval by the Italian Competition Authority.

Behind this news lies a 30-year relationship between Libraccio and Emmelibri-Messaggerie that can be traced back to 1994 and the opening of a bookstore on the Via Nazionale in Rome. The intent of Emmelibri-Messaggerie with this move, the company says, is to diversify its business in the school-textbook sector, an area in which Libraccio has been especially effective. Emmelibri-Messaggerie currently reaches more than 5,000 sales outlets with the work of some 800 publishers and as many as 230,000 titles. And for Libraccio, its own growth is a key motivator, as it now has more than 500 employees across those 61 stores and can benefit from its relation to the distribution prominence of Emmelibri-Messaggerie. The Libraccio Group in 2023 logged revenues of more than €110 million (US$117.5 million).

Il Libraccio (Bookboy) was founded in 1979 in Milan—just southwest of Monza—with its historic first store on the Via Corsico, a location that’s still standing. Four students who had met at flea markets in Piazza della Vetra created the company, which prides itself today on 45 years of growth.

Emmelibri-Messaggerie is wholly owned by Messaggerie Italiane, and its activities are sorted under various brands. It coordinates distribution (Messaggerie Libri), commerce (Fastbook, Opportunity GDO, Centro Libri Brescia), and services to publishers and booksellers (Emmepromozione, Informazioni Editoriali, Alcor, Lampi di Stampa, as well as the 160 UBIK franchised bookstores).

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Photo: DMB,