Milan: Football Trails Books in Cultural Spending

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Italian publishers, with a newly named leadership committee, hail the new BookCity Milano study of books’ supremacy in cultural spending.

On a train in Milan. Image – Getty iStockphoto: SportPoint

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

Cipolletta Calls Milan ‘A Driving City for the Sector’
Recent news from the Italian market includes both good and not-s0-good information from the Association of Italian Publishers (Associazione Italiana Editori, AIE).

As Italy’s book industry heads toward its Guest of Honor Italy year at Frankfurter Buchmesse 2024 (October 16 to 20), the Italian publishers report that they have installed their presidential committee under the still-new leadership of Innocenzo Cipolletta.

In the process, Cipolletta has issued a statement of “strong concern about the lack of attention of public institutions towards the topic of books, reading, and the sector,” based on government budgeting that apparently includes no support for reading, for “the right to study,” and for “the entire book supply chain.”

In his statement, Cipolletta says, “We appeal to the government and parliament for shared and coordinated action that embraces the entire production segment we represent, from miscellaneous books to academic and professional books, from novels to essays, from school books to comics.

Innocenzo Cipolletta

“We address the entire production, industrial, professional, and social chain of books and reading,” he says in his announcement, “from authors to publishers, from printers to distributors, up to bookshops and libraries. With one voice we want and must ask that books, reading and publishers return to the center of political attention. This is essential for the protection of the country’s interests.”

And in a separately released new report from the association working with BookCity Milano, Società Italiana degli Autori ed Editori (the Italian Society of Authors and Publishers), and Pepe Research, it’s been determined that in 2022, 12 percent of national spending on events, shows, and book purchases was concentrated in Milan.

A total €549.5 million (US$596.6 million) including sports is the overall number provided, and without sports that cultural-spending figure drops to €368.3 million (US$400 million).

Of the expenditures tracked by this “observatory” project, as it’s called, books are the top item, the bookish cultural classification attracting the highest level of expenditures. This encompasses book purchases, both fiction and nonfiction, in trade channels including physical and online bookstores and supermarkets.

Reading’s Big Lead Over Football

The readers of Milano, this chart from the new BookCity Milan report says, no longer are mostly children, but are being joined by the young at heart in their bookish pursuits and spending patterns. Image: BookCity Milano, AIE

The Milanese in 2022, according to this new report, spent €167.2 million on books and book-related things (US$181.5 million). And that figure trounced that of the next-highest expenditure area: football, which accounted for only €104.4 million (US$113.2).

Trailing books and their distant second, football, were, in the top :

  • Pop and rock music and concerts at €102 million (US$110.9 million)
  • Spending on discos at €51 million (US$55.4 million)
  • Exhibitions at €27.494 (US$29.3 million)
  • Opera at €21.2 million (US$23 million)
  • Theater at €18.4 million (US$20.6 million)
  • Cinema at €17.6 million (US$19.1 million)
  • Musical theater and revues at €11.8 million (US$12.8 million)

Commenting on the book industry’s supremacy in this cultural-spending study, even over the popularity of footbal, Cipolletta said, “With 12 percent of national spending on cultural consumption understood as shows, events, and the purchase of books compared to its resident population equal to 2.3 percent of the national population, Milan confirms itself as a driving city for the sector.

“Precisely this centrality justifies our choice to provide the city with a tool for measuring consumption behavior and supply, which is fundamental for the planning of cultural policies, a tool which we want to become the common heritage of the institutions and of all the actors of the production chain.”

Tommaso Sacchi

Milan’s cultural councilor Tommaso Sacchi joined Cipolletta, to say, “BookCity this year is also an opportunity to make an important point on the state of cultural health of our city.

“When, in our comments and in our declarations, we affirm that Milan is the capital of entertainment, publishing, music, or reading, we do so with the awareness not only of these numbers, which are those of paid cultural consumption, but of still others, which are not included in this important study because, for example, of free admission to shows or museums.

“It’s an awareness that makes us proud, but also gives us the responsibility to the tools of cultural growth increasingly inclusive and widespread.”

Organizational Notes From the Italian Publishers Association

Bookselling in Milan. Image – Getty iStockphoto: BrasilNut1

That newly named presidential committee comprises, in addition to Cipolletta himself:

  • Lorenzo Armando and Vittorio Anastasia representing the small publishers group
  • Renata Gorgani and Gianluca Mazzitelli representing the diversity group
  • Maurizio Messina and Carlo Olivero representing the academic and professional group
  • Paolo Tartaglino and Roberto Devalle representing the educational group,
  • Treasurer Giorgio Riva
  • The immediate past president Ricardo Franco Levi

Councilors appointed by the president and members of the committee are Carlo Gallucci, overseeing children’s publishing; Florindo Rubbettino for the southern market; Andrea Angiolini for innovation; and Annamaria Malato to handle Più libri più liberi.

Permanent appointees to the committee are Alessandra Carra, Andrea Giunti, Giovanni Hoepli, Giuseppe Laterza, Stefano Mauri, Antonio Porro, and Enrico Selva Coddè.

On Piazza del Duomo in Milan at Galleria Vittorio Emanuele. Image – Getty iStockphoto: Cesare Ferrari


More from Publishing Perspectives on the Italian market its publishers’ association is here, more on industry statistics is here, and more on the book publishing business is Europe 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.

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