Torino’s Book Fair Braves the Storm: 215,000 Attendees

In Feature Articles by Porter Anderson

Torino’s 35th international book fair with its professional program and rights center, succeeded amid torrential rains, flooding.

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

1,520 Public Events
Concluding its 2023 run on Monday, the Salone Internazionale del Libro di Torino reports that its five consecutive days of extraordinary rains didn’t prevent it from breaking its attendance records.

As you may know, a reported 23,000 people are still not back in their homes, following extraordinarily persistent and heavy rainfall in the Emilia-Romagna, which regular Publishing Perspectives readers know is the province of Elena Pasoli‘s Bologna Children’s Book Fair‘s, as well.

Alan Taylor is writing for The Atlantic (with compelling photos by Andreas Solaro for Agence France Presse and Getty) that the death toll now has reached 15 in the storms, with some figures on displaced residents reaching as high as 40,000.

Torino’s public-facing book fair’s organizers tell us today (May 23) that the show drew 215,000 visitors for this 35th edition of the Salone, which fielded 1,520 public events in the 50 venues on site.

Publishers have announced outstanding results in sales, reaching a gain of 60 percent over previous tallies for the Feltrinelli Group, 70 percent for the Mondadori Group, and an increase of at least 100 percent declared by Stefano Mauri and his team at Gruppo Editoriale Mauri Spagnol, which many of us know as GeMS.

Among the countless events and partnership initiatives, one that the Salone’s management has been particularly pleased with is its young readers’ program Bookstock, which attracted almost 25,000 readers, from kindergarten to high-school students.

There also was a first-time collaboration with Pista 500, which brought 9.500 readers to the stunning historic Fiat track.

The fair’s international bookshop has announced strong sales, with Colm Toibin’s The Magician at the top of the list.

In awards, Emmanuel Carrère won the European Strega, while Fernando Aramburo was honored with the Orbetello.

The ‘Salone Off’ program with its 600 events spread across some 300 venues in the city of Torino was attended by 30,000 visitors. 

Crocenzi: ‘Business Is Our Absolute Priority’

At Torino’s international book fair, which closed May 22. Image: SIDLT

As for the Rights Center—its 2024 dates will be May 8 to 10, 2024—has capped its past years’ performance.

 “We’re truly excited about this year’s response to the Rights Centre,” says Piero Crocenzi, CEO of the show.

Piero Crocenzi

“Registration numbers keep exceeding our expectations, year on year, but the amazing growth of professionals attending the fair and the rights center is only one part of the story.

“At the Salone del Libro Rights Centre, quality has kept in step with quantity. Creating the ideal circumstances for publishers and rights professionals to do business is our absolute priority. Showcasing the incredible beauty and singularity of the Piedmont region through our fellowship program is at the heart of this experience.

“We’re very happy to be able to do this with ITA’s [the Italian Trade Agency] support and we’re immensely grateful for their partnership and support, which was even more generous than in the past.”

Carmen Prestia of the Alferj e Prestia agency says that the agency signed deals for the foreign rights of authors including Erri De Luca Francesco Piccolo, Beatrice Salvioni, and Daniela Raimondi.

With 560 professionals registered from 46 different countries, the book fair’s rights center has more than doubled last year’s attendance. At least 5,000 meetings took place over 200 tables.  

In a joint message from the center’s coordinators, Giorgia De Angelis and Lorenza Honorati, we learn that the rights-trading platform supported a gratifying level of activity, as well.

“The platform facilitates new contacts but it’s not a barrier to participation,” according to Honorati and Angelis, “so much is done spontaneously over coffee or at one of the social events promoted by the rights center.”   

The rights center’s fellowship program included a three-day travel and stay in Torino with support from ITA, a dinner visit to the Rivoli Castle, and a traditional breakfast in one of the city’s oldest restaurants.

The center also offers professionals the opportunity to attend events on book-to-book and book-to-screen and audio adaptations, with a program curated by Mattia Carratello, Alessia Polli and Rebecca Servadio.

On May 17, participants attended the opening event for  the Aficionado Award, which is being put together by the fair and and Frankfurter Buchmesse (October 18 to 22). The event included presentations of the 2023 shortlistees: Aké Arts and Book Festival (Nigeria); Meridian Czernowitz (Ukraine); and The Passenger (Iperborea and Europa Editions, Italy and United Kingdom/US).m and urgent reality determining the book-to-screen and audio dynamics in the creative industries.

Annalena Benini

Annalena Benini

Speakers Jason Richman (UTA, co-head of media rights); Jake Bauman (literary executive  at Sony Pictures); and Angela Cheng Caplan (manager of the eponymous Cheng Caplan Company) were on hand, along with Servadio and Carratell, who discussed the more contemporary challenges and opportunities affecting of the business and essential for publishers and producers interested in both Italian publishing and the film and televsion combine. 

This was Nicola Lagioia’s seventh and last edition as the Salone’s director. The 2024 iteration is scheduled for May 9 through 13h, with recently appointed director Annalena Benini.

At the Aficionado Award opening event at Torino’s international book fair, with Frankfurter Buchmesse’s participation. Image: SIDLT

More from us on the Torino International Book Fair is here, more on international book fairs and trade shows overall is here, more on international publishing and book related awards programs is here, and more on Frankfurter Buchmesse 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 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.