The international publishing market for children and adults looks above all at those national titles that tell the story of art, food, love and crime novels. At the same time, independent Italian publishers are gradually approaching the foreign market with results that are not yet satisfactory. It seems appropriate to strengthen the international distribution of quality products of independent publishers, responding to the expectations of a very young public, young people and more mature readers who, in a different way, is more international and attracted by new authors and titles. For this fact, innovative ideas and strategies could be effective to start and consolidate commercial synergies between independent publishers in different countries.
The closure of bookstores, the reduction of Italian expenditure on culture, a new form of book use (e.g. tablet) and the predominance of a few large publishing groups, require that independent publishing is identifying new distribution channels also at international level. Against this, Italian publishing looks to be more active in the recent years. In fact, according to recent data from Fondazione Symbola, the children, young people’s literature and the fiction are the most exported and have 71.3% of sales. In 2016, Italian publishing houses sold the rights of 6,565 books abroad (+11% on 2015) while they bought 9,552 (-10.6% on 2015).
The influence of exports is highlighted by the sold of 10% of the new books published in 2016, while in 2011 were just 3.2%. They form 71.3% of the entire export of Italian publishing rights. In detail, small publishers have a higher propensity to buy rights abroad than those they sell, also due to the need to create a relevant catalogue at the start-up stage. Another factor that establishes this phenomenon is the need to answer to the curiosity of a reader who wants to learn about authors, literature and cultures from different countries. Furthermore, the ability of small publishers to sell abroad is growing more than the average. However, as highlighted by Fondazione Symbola, the data in absolute terms are not yet so relevant. In fact, the rights’ export reaches 12.5% (+31.9% on 2015) while the purchase of rights is 46.2% (+4.5% on 2015). The need to strengthen international distribution in favour of independent publishers emerges in this way, improving the quality of the product and responding to the expectations of a young audience, young people and more mature readers who, in a different way, are increasingly international and curious to know new authors and titles.
The international publishing market for children and adults looks above all at those national titles that tell the story of art, food, love and crime novels. In general, the ability of Italian publishers to offer different authors and categories to their foreign colleagues is confirmed, exploring new literatures compared to the more traditional European ones. The small independent Italian publishers are gradually appearing on the foreign market. The first chapters of essays and novels are published on the web. For this purpose, are employed experts figures specialized in the sale and purchase of rights and capable of dealing with international agents and agencies.
In this context it is interesting to consider the conditions that contributes significantly to the process of internationalization of Italian publishing. According to a recent survey carried out by Fondazione Symbola in 2016, 1,102 projects were carried out by foreign publishers. These projects mainly concern children and young people publications (57.7%) and the picture books sector (18.5%). The identification of the correct distribution channel and a significant reduction in translation and printing costs emerge as a clear competitive advantage when the same title is produced by more than one international partner.
Strategies and innovative ideas are required to start and consolidate synergies between independent publishers in different countries. In order to identify the most effective distribution channels for intercept the international public and thus promoting the marketing of the publications of independent Italian publishers. The collaboration could involve publishing from 4-5 different European countries, who are known to the public for the high quality of the products offered. In particular, innovative forms of cooperation should lead each publisher to translate works by foreign colleagues, promote them effectively and market them on national level. In this way, the publications of independent publishers would find a preferential channel to reach foreign customers who are interested in independent products and are curious about new authors and books.