The Italian publishing market has experienced several years of slow but consistent growth. The Association of Italian Publishers (Associazione Italiana Editori) reported that, in 2009, the overall cover price turnover of the Italian publishing market (including digital publishing) was $4.7 billion. Although this figure represents a 4.3% drop from 2008, the market is starting to see improvement, with an increase of 2.1% in the first six months of 2010. Italy published over 58,800 titles in 2008 – the last year for which definitive data on production is available – and 64.3% of these were new titles. The children’s book market is an area of opportunity, earning $217 million in 2009, up 4% over 2008.
The Italian publishing market was valued at $4.7 billion in 2009. U.S. book imports were valued at $199.5 million and children’s book imports at $16.9 million. The children’s book market earned $217 million in 2009, up 4% over 2008. In terms of distribution, bookstores account for roughly 32% of all books sold in Italy.
In 2009 bookstores sales were valued at $1.5 billion. Other key distribution channels are the Internet, newsstands, and large?scale distribution (supermarkets and department stores), earning a total of $561 million in 2009, a 5.5% increase from 2008. Bookstores are seeing growing consolidation, with 717 of 2135 Italian bookshops now belonging to chains.
Overall reading rates in Italy still lag behind those of other EU countries. Of Italy’s literate population (people over six years old) only 45.1% read at least one book in 2009, a growth of 1.1% on 2008. Reading rates in the north of Italy (51.8%) are significantly higher than in the south (34.6%), and women generally read more than men: 51.6% in 2009 compared to 38.2% for men.
In a country with a generally low number of readers (45.1% of total population) and a declining number of school kids, one bright spot is the relatively high rate of reading among children. In 2009 an average of 57.2% of school?age children (aged 6?19) read at least one non?school book, putting them in the “reader” category. This puts children over 12 percentage points above the general population in terms of reading rates. Preferred genres of books among Italian children are adventure stories followed by fairy tales and comic books.
As a member of the European Union, Italy applies the EU common external tariff to goods imported from non?EU countries. However, no tariffs or import duties are levied on books entering EU countries from the United States. A Value Added Tax (VAT or IVA) of 20% is assessed on products based on their Cost, Insurance, Freight (C.I.F.) value, plus the import duty at the port of entry.
On July 1, 2003, a European Union Directive relating to Value Added Tax (VAT) on digital services came into force. The legislation requires any seller of electronically supplied services and broadcasting services from a non EU member state to charge and collect VAT on those products and services sold online to EU private consumers. This includes e?books and other publications delivered online. For additional information please contact the U.S. Mission at the European Union in Brussels.
Another issue publishers should consider is the protection of intellectual property. Despite the implementation of the 2000 Copyright Law and increased enforcement actions, piracy and counterfeiting rates in Italy remain among the highest in Western Europe. Piracy continues in virtually all copyright?based sectors.
Italy is a signatory of both the Berne Convention and World Trade Organization's (WTO's) Agreement on Trade?Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). Therefore, the author or creator of any original intellectual work is protected in Italy, even without registration. However, U.S. copyright registration is advisable. U.S. registration through the U.S. Copyright Office of the Library of Congress provides documentation of date and originality and is an important safeguard in case infringement occurs and legal action is necessary. In Italy, copyright protection is automatically provided for during the life of the author plus 70 years after his or her death.
For works created in Italy, authors and publishers can register copyrights in Italy with the Italian Society for Authors and Editors (SIAE).