Italian Book-Publishers. How to Distribute to Italy and Increase Your Market Share

When it comes to publishing in Italy, publishers and distributors constantly seek to expand their market share

Publishers and authors have the potential to sell more books and solidify their presence by tapping into a network of Italian publishing companies and Italian distributors, as well as  independent bookshops. Italian publishers can significantly benefit from translating books to cater to a broader audience. 

Let’s talk options.

This article goes over:

Key takeaways

  • Italian book sales fluctuated in 2022, with slight decreases in fiction and nonfiction but an overall rise since pre-pandemic times. Audiobooks thrived while ebooks declined. Physical bookstores saw modest growth despite online and chain store declines.
  • New releases and catalog offerings emerged, but nonfiction sales, especially professional nonfiction, dropped significantly. Comics and fiction, Italian and non-Italian, grew. Challenges included inflation, high living costs, and the impact of piracy.
  • Entry into Italy’s book industry involves research, localization, collaboration with local publishers, and focusing on digital formats. Platforms like PublishDrive simplify distribution and marketing. Choosing partners or using aggregators remains key for market entry and growth.

Italian Market Outlook

Ranked as the sixth-largest globally, the Italian book-publishing market is significant for those looking to publish books in Italy, including self-publish and sell books through Italian bookstores

Compared to 2021, fiction and nonfiction sales revenues decreased by 2.3% in 2022. 

In contrast with 2021, the figures from 2022 show a notable increase of 13.1% in value and 13.3% in unit sales over those recorded in 2019, the year before the devastating onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in Italy.

Audiobook sales in Italy rose by 4.2%, reaching €25 million, while the ebook market saw an 8% decline. 

Physical bookstore sales slightly increased by 1%, primarily in chain stores, stations, and airports, despite online sales dropping by 5% and retail chains seeing a 10% decline. 

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In terms of gender in 2022, there was an 8% rise in new releases compared to 2019, with catalog offerings increasing by 18% from 2019. 

In 2022, the Italian market experienced a decline in general nonfiction sales by 8.6% and an even more significant drop in professional nonfiction sales by 12.3%. 

On the other hand, fiction saw a healthy increase of 4.9%. 

Comics experienced significant growth of 8.6% within the fiction category, non-Italian fiction rose by 7%, and Italian fiction increased by 4.9%.

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These trends underscore the evolving dynamics of the Italian market, where publishers face challenges like inflation and rising operational costs, impacting small publishers and independent bookshops significantly.

Critical concerns for Italian publishers in 2023 included:

  • The effects of inflation and high living costs on consumer spending in Italy, 
  • Industry challenges like rising paper and energy costs. These threaten margins and pose risks to vulnerable entities like small publishers and independent bookshops.
  • Market trends heavily influenced by major players in the retail sector.
  • The impact of piracy, particularly in non-fiction and trade publishing sectors

Best market entry point

👉 Hint: Traditional book distribution channels may not always be the best option.

  1. Several strategies can be employed for publishers aiming to expand their market reach, particularly those looking to sell books or self-publish in Italy
  2. Conducting market research and localizing content are vital steps. This process involves adapting books to align with the Italian market’s cultural preferences and linguistic nuances. This often includes book translation, ensuring the content resonates with local readers. 
  3. Collaboration with Italian publishers can be strategic, leveraging their established networks and market insights. Italians value  independent bookshops and local distributors; make them your trusted allies.
  4. Digital publishing, focusing on ebooks and audiobooks, offers a lucrative avenue for publishers. This method is particularly advantageous for those looking to publish books in Italy, as it circumvents the logistical challenges associated with physical book distribution. 
  5. Participation in international book fairs and literary events is another vital strategy, providing opportunities for networking and gaining insights into global market trends. 
  6. The power of social media and digital marketing cannot be underestimated in building a brand presence and directly engaging with a diverse reader base.

⭐  Distribution aggregators, like PublishDrive, stand out as particularly crucial. 

These platforms can place books in multiple international markets, including Italy, often providing comprehensive services such as translation, marketing, and adherence to local regulations. 

Aggregators simplify the process for publishers, especially those who self-publish in Italy, by offering a centralized system to manage distribution and sales across various regions. This approach is highly beneficial for expanding market presence and efficiently reaching new audiences in Italy and beyond.

Go Global with PublishDrive

With PublishDrive, you get all the benefits of using different distribution platforms, including access to hard-to-access markets, under one roof. It simplifies publishing, distribution, and marketing, offering a one-stop resource hub.

PublishDrive works with a flat fee subscription model, allowing authors and publishers complete control over their revenue. 

⚡Read more on why subscription-based aggregation, as opposed to royalty-share aggregation, is more financially efficient and transparent for authors and publishers. 

PublishDrive goes beyond helping you publish a book. It immerses authors and publishers into a comprehensive book network to grow their business and open new markets, reaching hard-to-get audiences.

Here is a snippet of it in numbers:

For authors and publishers eyeing the Italian market, PublishDrive is your go-to platform. Learn to navigate the interests of local publishing companies by tapping into a range of distribution channels explicitly targeting this market.

Key book distribution platforms via PublishDrive

Here's a breakdown of some key platforms where you can market your books in multiple formats.

You can reach them simultaneously directly through PublishDrive. 

1. Amazon 

Amazon is a dominant player in the digital content space, offering Kindle ebooks and Audible audiobooks. Its vast selection and powerful recommendation algorithms make it a go-to platform for readers. 

2. Apple

Apple’s digital content ecosystem includes the Apple Books platform, which offers many ebooks and audiobooks. Known for its seamless integration with Apple devices, it provides an excellent user experience. Apple Books features a curated selection of titles and personalized recommendations, making it a lucrative platform for authors aiming to reach a tech-savvy audience with Apple devices.

3. Kobo

Kobo is a global digital reading platform offering ebooks and audiobooks. It is renowned for its e-readers and user-friendly app, compatible with various devices. Kobo’s extensive catalog and personalized reading experiences make it a favorite among digital book enthusiasts. Authors can leverage Kobo to reach a global audience, especially in markets where Kobo has a strong presence.

4. Google Play

Google Play Books is Google’s digital distribution service for ebooks and audiobooks. Users can seamlessly purchase and read content on multiple devices integrated with the Google ecosystem. The platform is known for its vast selection and ease of use, providing authors access to a broad and diverse audience through Google’s extensive network.

5. Audible

Audible, an Amazon company, is a leading audiobook and spoken-word entertainment service. It offers a vast library of audiobooks, podcasts, and original content. Audible is known for its high-quality productions

6. Kobo Audio

Kobo Audio is Kobo’s audiobook segment, offering a rich selection of titles. It caters to Kobo’s user base, focusing on high-quality audio storytelling. Authors can use Kobo Audio to reach listeners who prefer Kobo’s ecosystem, expanding their audiobook market presence.

7. Google Play Audio

Google Play Audio is the audiobook section of Google Play Books, providing users with a wide range of audiobook titles. Integrated with Google’s ecosystem, it offers seamless access across devices. Authors can benefit from Google Play Audio’s vast audience and Google’s robust marketing capabilities.

8. Findaway

Findaway is a leader in audiobook distribution, offering a wide-reaching network that connects authors and publishers to a global audience. Their platform allows for flexible distribution options and greater control over pricing and availability. Authors looking to maximize their audiobook reach can benefit significantly from Findaway’s extensive distribution channels.

9. Apple Audio

Apple Audio encompasses the audiobook offerings within Apple Books. It provides users with a high-quality listening experience on Apple devices. 

Authors can tap into Apple’s loyal customer base and leverage the platform’s integrated marketing tools to reach audiobook listeners effectively.

10. Lazy Joy Audio

Lazy Joy Audio is a niche audiobook platform offering a curated selection. It is designed for listeners who seek high-quality, engaging audio narratives. 

The platform is ideal for authors specializing in genres that resonate with Lazy Joy Audio’s targeted audience, providing a unique opportunity for targeted exposure.

11. Ingram Distribution

Ingram Distribution is a major book distributor offering print and digital distribution services. They provide access to a vast network of retailers, libraries, and educational institutions. 

Ingram’s comprehensive distribution network and print-on-demand services make it a valuable partner for authors and publishers looking to expand their reach in physical and digital book markets.

12. iReader

iReader is a popular digital reading platform that offers a vast collection of ebooks and digital content. It caters to a global audience with diverse genres, including fiction, non-fiction, and educational materials. 

The platform is known for its user-friendly interface, making digital reading accessible and enjoyable.

 iReader also features interactive elements like reading progress tracking and personalized recommendations.

13. Perlego

Perlego is an innovative digital platform offering an extensive library of academic and professional texts. It is particularly popular among students and educators for its subscription-based model that provides unlimited access to educational resources.

Perlego covers various subjects and collaborates with leading publishers to ensure up-to-date content. 

The platform is a valuable tool for authors in academic and professional fields looking to reach an engaged scholarly audience.

14. Storytel

Storytel is a prominent e-book streaming service that offers a subscription-based model. It provides access to various titles across various genres, making it popular among audiobook listeners. 

15. Scribd

Scribd is a comprehensive digital library offering e-books, audiobooks, and magazine articles. It operates on a subscription model, providing users unlimited access to a diverse collection of content. 

Scribd’s platform is intuitive and offers features like bookmarking and adjustable reading settings. It’s an ideal platform for authors seeking exposure to a diverse, engaged reading community.

This is a distributor list for stores with a strong presence in Italy. If you want to publish internationally, you can pick other stores from our distribution network. We'll email you the list.


Handpick Your Publishing Partners

For publishers who prefer a more personalized approach, initiating individual conversations with platforms and Italian distributors offers the opportunity to handpick trusted partners tailored to their specific needs. 

This method allows for direct negotiations and the formation of bespoke agreements that align closely with the publisher's strategic goals. 

However, this one-by-one approach can have its disadvantages. 

It tends to be more time-consuming, requiring significant effort and resources to manage multiple relationships. 

Additionally, it may lack the comprehensive market coverage and streamlined processes that an aggregator provides. 

Publishers might also face challenges coordinating marketing efforts across different platforms and ensuring consistent distribution and sales strategies, which can be handled more efficiently through a single aggregator service.

Here are two Italian distributors to check:

1. Casalini Libri

Casalini Libri is a distinguished name in the Italian book distribution and library services sector, specializing in providing European academic publications. 

The company is renowned for its extensive Italian and Spanish titles and caters to various academic disciplines. 

Casalini Libri offers a unique blend of traditional and digital distribution services, including cataloging, metadata management, and digitization. Their commitment to supporting libraries and academic institutions with comprehensive bibliographic data and tailored services makes them a key player in European academic publishing and library supply.

2. Tektime

Tektime stands out as an innovative player in digital publishing, offering a range of services tailored to authors and publishers. 

Specializing in e-book publishing and distribution, Tektime assists with everything from manuscript formatting and cover design to global distribution. Their platform is designed to simplify the publishing process, making it accessible for both new and experienced authors. 

Tektime's focus on digital distribution and its embrace of cutting-edge publishing technology positions it as a modern and efficient choice for authors navigating the digital publishing landscape.

Time to Parlare Italiano

Italy offers a dynamic and receptive environment for various publications with its rich literary culture, diverse reader demographics, and growing inclination toward digital media. 

Venturing into the Italian book market could broaden a publisher’s global footprint and provide access to a passionate and diverse reader base, making it a strategically sound and culturally enriching endeavor.