Italy’s Publishers Elect Innocenzo Cipolletta President

Today in Milan (September 28), the publisher Innocenzo Cipolletta has been elected by the Association of Italian Publishers (Associazione Italiana Editori) to succeed Ricardo Franco Levi as AIE’s president.

Cipolletta was previously the president of the Confindustria Cultura Italia, the market’s powerful 5.3-million-employee collective of trade associations in manufacturing and services. Starting a term of two years, Cipolletta arrives, of course, at a time when expansive international attention is being placed on Italy’s book and publishing market, with Guest of Honor Italy planned for the 2024 Frankfurter Buchmesse. For his part, Levi is president of the Federation of European Publishers, based in Brussels.

On being named president, Cipolletta—who is a member of the board of Editori Laterza—told AIE’s publishers’ assembly, “This association is among the oldest and noblest in the business world, having been in existence for more than 150 years. Publishers have made a special contribution to the growth of Italy through the dissemination of ideas and culture, which we know is the essential basis of a good and efficient democracy.”

His focus, Cipolletta said, will be on raising the cultural level and the “habit of reading” the Italian market is particularly articulate about.

To this end, he said, there’ll be more of the AIE’s trademark representation of its publishers and their needs to Rome. Under Levi’s leadership, the organization has been particularly effective in its ability to operate closely with the ministry of culture, attracting and leveraging the attention and support of the central government, particularly during the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.

We will unceasingly continue the dialogue with the government,” Cipolletta said today, “an action in which the cohesive capacity of the entire book chain—from publishers to bookstores, from authors to libraries—will be fundamental.

“If we rank the main countries with the highest per-capita income, we also see that they’re the countries in which education is the highest and in which the reading rate is the highest,” he said. “It seems clear that we need to invest substantially in education and reading in order to be able to grow and to be able to reach levels of culture consistent with those of other countries similar to us. I believe this will be our main challenge in the future too.

“It’s a challenge that AIE has always pursued and which Levi has set as the focus of his action, with particular reference to schools.

“We need an industrial policy for culture and this is not an oxymoron. An industrial policy for culture will necessarily must have a major impact on innovation processes, from Artificial Intelligence and platforms for teaching, to the protection and management of copyright.”

And Cipolletta also looked quickly back at the progress AIE has logged in recent years during Levi’s presidency, especially areas in which the publishers’ association has worked to build funding for socially significant programs in reading and the arts.

“I’m thinking of the 18App,” he said, “now revised [under the Giorgia Meloni government] but which must maintain its support for all young people to access cultural goods.

“I’m also thinking of the fund for extraordinary purchases by libraries, the increase in funds for the right to study—for which we’re discussing with the government further increases [with] an objective of extending it to university students.

“It’s a matter of codifying these and other measures so that Italy can reach reading levels similar to those in other advanced countries.”

For more on this: New president for Italy’s Publishers Association

Photo: AIE, Daniela poli