Italy’s book industry experienced a turbulent start to the new decade following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, whilst the publishing market was hit hard in early 2020, the sector quickly started to recover as bookstores were allowed to reopen alongside other essential businesses. Data on global book publishing revenues suggests that Italy ranks among the leading book markets in Europe, and based on the latest projections, Italy’s book industry expenditure is set to remain steady at around 2.19 billion euros in the next few years. And yet, the future of the literary landscape might not be carved in stone just yet, as the dynamic (digital) changes in consumers’ reading habits and preferences have shown.
The Italian book landscape at a glance
Between 2020 and 2021, book sales revenue in Italy increased by 14 percent and reached an estimated 1.8 billion euros. The lion’s share of this sum was generated via print book sales, which grew by 16 percent year-over-year. Compared to other countries, Italy had the third-highest uptick in print book sales growth in Europe, and while Italian readers still prefer physical copies over digital alternatives, e-books and audiobooks also saw an unprecedented boost in demand. So, where do Italian book lovers purchase their copies? According to a recent survey, Amazon was the most popular online platform for print and e-book purchases in 2021. The e-commerce giant also ranked first in an overall ranking of booksellers in Italy that year, outperforming established brick-and-mortar stores such as La Feltrinelli and Mondadori by a significant margin.
Book consumption trends and reading behavior
Consumers from various age demographics and educational levels embraced book reading as a pastime during the first years of the pandemic. The latest data on book readers in Italy showed that people aged 45-64 years made up the largest share of readers in 2020, while younger generations also accounted for impressive reading figures that year. A look into the most popular book genres in Italy further suggests that teens and tweens contributed significantly to the industry’s sales numbers in 2021, as comic book purchases, for example, more than doubled between 2020 and 2021. This boost was likely fueled by the 18app initiative – a governmental campaign that allowed 18-year-olds to spend up to 500 euros on cultural goods and experiences. Young readers also led the way in terms of e-book and online book consumption in Italy. Even though print still dominates the scene, digital alternatives slowly become more popular each year. Sales revenue from e-books jumped from 71 to 86 million euros between 2019 and 2021, whereas audiobook sales increased almost threefold to 24 million euros within those two years.
This text provides general information. Statista assumes no
liability for the information given being complete or correct.
Due to varying update cycles, statistics can display more up-to-date
data than referenced in the text.