Italy’s Publishers Elect Innocenzo Cipolletta President

In Feature Articles by Porter Anderson

Innocenzo Cipolletta, AIE’s new leader, calls for ‘the creativity needed to enter unknown territory’ as Italy’s publishers move forward.

Ricardo Franco Levi, left, the outgoing AIE president and current president of the Federation of European Publishers, with Innocenzo Cipolletta, the incoming AIE president and chief of the Confindustria Cultura Italia. Image: AIE, Daniela Poli

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

‘Difficulty Is Now Inherent In Our Lives’
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.

Many Publishing Perspectives readers are familiar with Cipolletta’s work as 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, as our readers know, 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.”

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

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.”

‘Difficult Years Lie Ahead’

In addition to Cipolletta, the assembly today has also elected a suite of committee presidents, who in AIE’s structure serve as its vice-presidents.

  • Renata Gorgani of Editrice Il Castoro for the first time, has been appointed president of the Editoria di varia group
  • Lorenzo Armando of Lexis-Compagnia Editoriale in Torino has been named president of the Piccoli editori group
  • Maurizio Messina of Edizioni Angelo Guerini e associati has been installed as president of the Accademico-professionale group
  • Paolo Tartaglino of Lattes, has been confirmed as president of the Educativo group

Among the ties between AIE and Cipolletta, one is the fact that AIE is a founding member-association of the Confindustria Cultura Italia. The association’s membership comprises more than 90 percent of the Italian publishing corps. And in some of his final comments, Cipolletta said what might be most promising for the Italian industry and its publishers, an industry and its people facing broad dynamics of change and challenge.

“Difficulty is now inherent in our lives, and it is up to us to face it with the means we have and the creativity needed to enter unknown territory.”Innocenzo Cipolletta

“Difficult years lie ahead,” he said, “but we cannot say that we have had easy years. Difficulty is now inherent in our lives, and it is up to us to face it with the means we have and the creativity needed to enter unknown territory.

“The Italian economy is in a severe slowdown, as it is all over the world, partly because of policies aimed at curbing inflation. But it’s not only the economy that’s a problem.

“Italy has such a high public debt that any possibility of financial maneuvering to support the economy is arduous. We have not yet fully emerged from the pandemic, and we are still grappling with a devastating war in Europe over Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. Meanwhile, innovations are changing many of the rules of our markets, and we must prevent these from ending up destroying more than they succeed in building.

“We have many challenges ahead of us,” Cipolletta said, in concluding his acceptance speech. “I’m confident that we will all be able to face them together in a constructive spirit and with the support I ask for and need from you, because only sincere cooperation from everyone will enable us to achieve results for our businesses.”

In Rome’s Parione, the sixth rione, August 27. Image – Getty iStockphoto: Stephen Bridger

More from Publishing Perspectives on the Italian market is here, more on publishing in Europe is here, more on the Federation of European Publishers is here, more on Frankfurter Buchmesse is here, and more on guest of honor programs in many parts of the world is here.  

Italy is the 2024 guest of honor market  at Frankfurt, preceded by this year’s Guest of Honor Slovenia program and followed in 2025 by Guest of Honor Philippines.

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.