Italy: Trade Book Sales Up in 2023

A new report from Italy shows the value of its consumer book market rose in 2023, despite a slight drop in overall unit sales.

One of the traditions of the Scuola per Librai Umberto e Elisabetta Mauri (UEM) is a report on the final day of this “school for booksellers” set in Venice on the Italian market’s financial performance in the previous year. As the Scuola Mauri has closed its 41st edition with booksellers and publishers gathered in the Cini Foundation’s soaring 10th-century Benedictine monastery on San Giorgio Maggiore, representatives of the Association of Italian Publishers (Associazione Italiana Editori, AIE) and the Federation of European Publishers have presented figures indicating that in 2023, the Italian book market saw trade publishing grow by 0.8 percent in value, with a slight decline in the number of copies sold.

That point—of valuation being a bit up and unit sales being a bit down—aligns Italy’s performance with some other world markets in which attempts are being made to carefully raise the prices of books, which have rarely followed inflationary dynamics as other goods and services have done.

Turnover in Italy and Europe

In this graphic presented by Ricardo Franco Levi, president of the Federation of European Publishers, we see some context on the EU’s publishing year at the Scuola Mauri in Venice. The net turnover corresponds to a cover price value of approximately €37-€38 billion in 2023. And you’re looking at a charting of publishers’ net turnover in billions of euros, 2004 to 2022. Image: Federation of European Publishers.

Italy is Europe’s fourth-largest book market after the United Kingdom, Germany, and France, and as was reported today by AIE president Innocenzo Cipolletta, Italy’s 2023 consumer book revenue reached €1.7 billion (US$1.8 billion) based on cover price, up 0.8 percent over the previous year, and up 14.1 percent over the 2019 market’s performance. By contrast, unit sales were tracked by 111.9 million, down .07 percent by comparison to 2022 and up 12.6 over the 2019 figures.

For further reading:

Image: Publishing Perspectives, Porter Anderson