Rights Edition: Italian Publishers Host an Rights Center at Più Libri Più Liberi

In News by Porter Anderson

‘Independent publishers make up the soul of the book world, and I felt that strongly here’: Industry pros evaluate rights meetings in Rome.

The Più libri più liberi rights center, high up in Rome’s “Cloud,” La Nuvola convention center. Image: AIE

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

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As this story is published: We’re being told by Italy’s publishers’ association late today (December 9) that a proposal has been put forward in parliament to withdraw the “18App,” which provides each Italian who turns 18 to spend €500 on cultural purchases, including books. The associations of publishers, booksellers, writers, and librarians are appealing to Rome to withdraw the cancellation proposal. The 18app program is credited with helping the Italian market’s reading rates among those aged 18 to 21 to jump in three years from 46.8 percent to 54 percent. ‘It would be a paradox for Italy to cancel a virtuous measure that many have copied from us.’

‘I’ve Had More Than 10 Meetings’
As Publishing Perspectives readers know, Italy’s Più libri più liberiItaly’s book fair for small and medium-sized publishing companies—runs through Sunday (December 11), primarily as a public-facing fair. The Association of Italian Publishers (Associazione Italiana Editori, AIE), which produces the show, however, includes a professional program of presentations and panels, and perhaps the world industry’s most exotically placed rights center.

Thursday and today (December 7 and 8), 35 publishers, rights directors, and agents from 22 nations have been holding their one-on-one meetings with Italian publishers high up in La Nuvola, “The Cloud,” as the capital city’s convention center is known for its “floating” cloud-like series of elevated meeting and performance areas.

One of the recurring comments we’re hearing, as you’ll find in some remarks below, is how well this particular fair is geared to independent presses–great appreciation from publishers who felt the specialization was very thoroughly carried out by the association’s organizers.

‘I’ve Found Two Authors I Can Publish’

In the Più libri più liberi rights center at La Nuvola in Rome. Image: AIE

In comments about their experiences at the Roman rights center this week, we hear a lot of upbeat, appreciative remarks.

Christian Ruzicska

Christian Ruzicska, publisher at Secession Verlag, says, “For me, being an independent publisher and so able to choose in a very personal way the books I want to publish, it’s an extremely enriching experience to meet independent Italian publishers in such a concentrated way. To discover and communicate with publishers you normally don’t see and meet in Frankfurt helps me a lot to develop a much more appropriate picture of the diversity of Italian literature. I also appreciate a chance to exchange experiences with my international colleagues.

“As far as I can see, I’ve found two authors yesterday, who I might be able to publish in German.”

Charlotte Lefevre, editorial manager at France’s Éditions Calmann-Lévy, says, “I had several meetings with publishers I didn’t know before. I also went downstairs to meet people and make appointments. This is really important for my business and I hope I’ll buy some of the books I’ll receive during the next days.”

Zsófia Nádor

From Hungary, Jelenkor Publishing editor Nádor Zsófia says, “It’s usually easier to reach the big editors, and this is a beautiful opportunity to enrich my contacts, and to find dedicated editors with a strong vision and a well-defined profile.”

Brazil’s Mario S. Frugiuele who edits at Editora Todavia, has a sharp observation about innovative approaches: “I come from a country where novelty always comes from the margins, the brainchild of people who take risks to create and promote culture. Walking through the corridors of Più libri più liberi quickly made me realize that even in Italy novelty looks like this, beyond the mainstream, and what’s created and innovated by small and medium-sized publishing seems incredible to me.”

Aaron Robertson

Spiegel & Grau’s Aaron Robertson from the States says, “As an editor hoping to promote international literature within the United States, I thought that the rights center of Più libri più liberi was incredibly helpful.

“Independent publishers make up the soul of the book world, and I felt that strongly here in Rome.”

And Emre Can Petek of Turkey’s Akdem Agency says the number of publishers available for meetings has been just right, and “The first day of the professional days was amazing to me as I’ve had more than 10 meetings–some of them at the publishers’ booths.

“It’s lovely to find this kind of environment–friendly and easy for publishers and agents to use for these meetings.”

Trade Visitors at the Rights Center Tables

Here’s who has been manning the tables this week in Rome, asking for copies of titles that sound good, as Italian publishers–many with stands on the exhibition floor below–joined them for book presentations and conversation.

  • 012 Book: Shin-Min Lin, Taiwan
  • Akdem Copyrights and Translations Agency: Emre Can Petek, Turkey
  • Albert Bonniers Förlag: Anna Charlotte Aquilonius, Sweden
  • Alboroto Ediciones: Mónica Vazquez Bergna, Mexico
  • Alianza Editorial: Jaime Rodríguez, Spain
  • Altamarea Ediciones: Alfonso Zuriaga del Castillo, Spain
  • Assoziation A: Rainer Wendling, Germany
  • Bokförlaget Opal: Sara Ruder, Sweden
  • Botime Pegi Aida Baro Albania
  • Buchet Chastel: Maÿlis de Lajugie, France
  • Comme Des Geants: Nadine Robert, Canada
  • Czernin Verlag: Benedikt Föger, Austria
  • Dedalus: Eric Lane, United Kingdom
  • Dioptra Vasiliki: Galati, Greece
  • Ediciones Rialp: Esther Greciano, Spain
  • Editions Calmann-Levy: Charlotte Lefevre, France
  • Editora Todavia: Mario Santin Frugiuele, Brazil
  • Folio Verlag: Ludwig Paulmichl, Austria
  • Forlæns Publishing: Anna Schmidt Andersen, Denmark
  • Hangilsa Publishing: Yoo yeon Noh, Korea
  • Jelenkor Kiadó: Zsófia Nádor, Hungary
  • Kastaniotis Grigorios: Bekos Greece
  • Kein & Aber: Anna Heller, Switzerland
  • Les Editions Albin Michel: Anne Michel, France
  • Liana Levi Editions: Cristina Piovani, France
  • Like Publishing: Päivi Paappanen, Finland
  • Líra Könyv Zrt: Ágnes Orzóy, Hungary
  • Michel de Maule: Thierry de la Croix, France
  • Piboco: Aksel Køie, Denmark
  • Portaculturas Editorial: Juan Javier Folco, Argentina
  • Primus: Nevena Racman, Slovenian
  • Samir Editeur: Patricia Moukarzel, Lebanon
  • Secession Verlag: Christian Ruziscka, Germany
  • Spiegel & Grau: Aaron Robertson, United States
  • Talents Hauts: Laurence Faron, France

In the Più libri più liberi rights center at La Nuvola in Rome. Image: AIE

More from Publishing Perspectives on the Italian market and news from its publishers’ association is here. More on rights trading in the international book business is here, and more on trade shows and book fairs is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.