NPD BookScan released its most recent data for the Italian book market this week on the first day of Più libri più liberi, the trade show for small, medium, and independent Italian publishers taking place in Rome through December 11.

A press release from the Italian Publishers Association (AIE) said that revenue for the Italian book business was €1.268 billion for the first 11 months of 2022, down 2.3% from 2021 but up 12.9% from pre-pandemic levels in 2019. In all, 86.8 million print books were sold, down 2% from 2021 and up 14.5% from 2019. Overall, the AIE anticipates that the market revenue in Italy will have fallen 1.1%, to 1.8%, in 2022 compared with 2021. Total revenue for the market is expected to total between €1.676 billion and €1.687 billion, depending on how holiday sales go. In all, 62,745 new titles were published in the year, down 2% from 2021.

Sales in bookstores did well, growing 1.3%, to reach €674.8 million. Online sales fell 5.3% compared to 2021, to €532.9 million, and sales a big box retailers fell 12.7%, to €60.7 million. Social media continued to drive sales, led by Italian author Erin Doom's #1 bestseller Fabbricante di lacrime; authors Colleen Hoover, Madeline Miller, and K. Shell also saw books hit the top ten. Backlist titles accounted for 70% of total sales, with frontlist coming in at 30%

In the release, Diego Guida, president of the Small Publishers Group in Italy, said that small and midsize publishers, while growing, also remain vulnerable to the vagaries of the market, such as rising supply chain costs. "Once again, figures show how much of national publishing is made up of small and medium publishers of great vitality but which, at the same time, have to deal with very difficult problems, starting with distribution," he noted.

Ricardo Franco Levi, president of the AIE, praised the industry for "considerable resilience" in the face of inflation and other market complications, and underscored the importance of not raising book prices in helping to sustain sales. He emphasized that continued government support was needed, including "measures supporting reading a time when families’ loss of purchasing power is cause for concern." In particular, Levi pointed to the importance of maintaining the 18app, which gives 18-year-olds in the country €500 to spend on books, theater, museums and other cultural purchases.