The Turin Book Fair is always beautiful, but the publishers see it blackly: the market is in crisis and the cost of paper is terrifying. Solution? “More quality, less publications”

Are things have always been: queue to the Blue Room, commemorative photo in front of Books tower, slice of pizza eaten in flight, standing. Then they are things that were missing for a while: possibility to photograph without a mask, a beautiful season that brings heat (too hot) and smiles. Especially the smiles. And finally they are dispute, according to tradition. The victim, this time a director Nicola Lagioia. “Come out, won’t you come out?” And then: “But that’s a sexist sentence from 20 years ago Melissa Panarello? ” Nothing else has been talked about in recent days. He apologized, and in time they became friends. And as they say: happy for them, happy for everyone.

Smiles, he told himself. Make an extreme synthesis: the Book Fair is … issuance of normality. True, last fall, they took off again after a standstill, in 2020, thanks to Covid. But it was actually fall. Was green passwere masks. And most of all, it was fear. For the present, for the future. In this edition, far from the bombs in Eastern Europe, we allow ourselves more than a smile. At the head of the Reader Club, Giulio Teand director Lagioia, forediting of recordswhich did even better than the one in 2021. And then those of those who go to Salone for pleasure, wandering in the stands; those who follow the debates of writers and writers and their own idols; and those who come home tired and sweaty with backpacks full of books.

EDITORS SEE BLACK – However, there is a category behind the smiles of circumstances more worries: it’s from publishers. They all come out the same way: “I’ve never seen so many people.” To then return to the question about the trend sales from the beginning of the yearon the most classic “don’t use my nameHowever. “And here comes the painful notes: those who found new time to read during the pandemic have returned to their normal lives away from books (or perhaps have to deal with inflation); this libraries keep closingonline limp and above all card cost there is no sign of falling. Contrary.

One of the few who put his face to it is Marco Zapparoli, president of Adei (Association of Independent Publishers). It is located at the publishing house’s stand frames and frameswhich he is a co-founder of. He points to the canvas bags, visible above the books, with the inscription “Run to the library”. “This is our credo,” he says, “libraries must be defended together with libraries.” Stop, look at an undefined point on the horizon. “It’s time for publishers to join forces to support them, they are real added value our market ”. And speaking of the market: “It has shrunk significantly since the beginning of the year, by at least 15%. Nobody says thatbecause then they throw tomatoes at you. ” To this is added cost of paper production (cellulose costs 70% more than at the end of 2020): “The book costs us about 18% more. And as far as I know at least 40% of publishers are considering increasing the cover price by 10%. We don’t want to do this, we will try to reduce the foliation. “

There is who the price of their books had already raised him up (but doesn’t want to appear with a first and last name): “All we can do, otherwise we won’t get up. On the other hand, our salaries are always the same. More than one publisher points a finger at “le too many publicationsthere is a market that depends on self-publishing and fake publications which oblige authors to purchase hundreds of copies of their book ”. These are basically printing houses disguised as publishing houses. We count a few in the Salon. But for Zapparola there is a way: “Just look around,” he says as he watches the audience in Salone. “Are a lot of young people, ten years ago it was not like that. What changed? The image of the book has changed thanks to the creativity of many publishers. There is development of a “beautiful” book, conceived as a quality book. In the past, quality was associated with the author, today not only. Today there are well-made, well-finished books that combine the written word with the image. ” An example above all? Just steps from Marcos y Marcos space to reach Publisher Guido Tommasiwhich publishes mainly cooking volumes. They are a show, not much can be said.

THE LIFE OF A WRITER – In the Owal pavilion, Sem space, the writer is sitting on a small armchair Paolo Roversi. He just finished copy signaturestime ten minutes and he has one more. The boy approaches and greets him, inviting him for a beer in Novara. Then it depends on the girl asking for a picture of him. He smiles and apologizes: “It goes like this.” His last yellow, The elegance of the killer (Marsilio) will participate in the Bancarella Prize. Roversi publishes in practice two books a year. “My first writing textbook has just been released,” she says, “I make my knowledge available to anyone who wants to write crime fiction.” Meanwhile, it organizes the NebbiaGialla Prize, fa a lesson in Scuola Holdenruns two writing workshops (King of noir and Crime Fiction Factory) and recently came out with podcast on the life of famous crime writers (James Elroy to me Fred Vargas, at this point). “I refuse to write in all its abilities,” he continues, “on the other hand, either you are one of the top rankings (in sales, red) or …”. His genre never goes out of style. “Fortunately, yes. And if you think about it, yellow is a sedative species, even though it seems to be contradictory. It gives us confidence that good will always triumph over evil. Reality, as we know, doesn’t work that way.

The American writer tells something else in the very full Blue Masked Room Joe Lansdale. With his Texas accent (but Eastern, beware) and the contagious laugh of his uncle who knows a lot, he confesses that “I spend three hours a day writing. What’s more, it’s a waste of time for me. ” Lucky him. He spends the rest of the day reading, watching movies and teaching martial arts at his school. On the other hand, is one of the first places in the table. It would be nice to hear him, but the questions from those interviewing him take an average of fifteen minutes. This happens a lot in Salone. Fortunately, Lansdale manages to tell an interviewer who asks him if he ever thought his books were all part of the literature that “I write short stories, I don’t care. And I am writing to you on my behalf because when I do, everything is fine. I am not writing for my publishers or my readers or my mother. And it has always been like that.

WAR IN THE SHOWROOM – In hall 3, among the installations of publishers, the eye falls during the war on poster dedicated to Ukraine. This is the basis Roberto Keller with Keller editorwhich has been publishing writers from Eastern Europe since 2005. “We specialize in Central European culture.” Andrei’s books stand out on the tables KurkovMary Matios e Kamys Marcyan. “Later,” he explains, “we also turned to the Russian authors. We are a publishing house from Trentino, the subject of multilingualism and a limit perceived as an opportunityas exchanges of cultures, they have always been part of our DNA. Since the outbreak of the war, the reports we publish have been very popular, among others Ukrainian diaries by Kurkowa “. Even so, Keller admits that “2022 started uphill compared to 2021. The cost of paper has increased for us, and the cost of living for people in general ”. Who has been rewarded by readers who seek to gain information and understand the conflict better include: Adelfi. “From the beginning of the year, we had literary” phenomena “: Putin’s Russia from Anna Politkowskawhich we have had in our catalog for years, and Stalingrad from Vasily Grossman“Says the commercial director Giusi de Luca. Also caught A prisoner of the West from Milan Kunderawhich included two statements by the Czech writer, one from ’67 and the other from 1983, on the “tragedy of Central Europe”, which was a helpless witness to the “disappearance” of eastern countries.

THE FUTURE OF THE FAIR – Meanwhile, among the stands, as a private citizen, there is also Luigi Di Maio. What is the minister of foreign affairs doing in the pavilions? He accompanies his journalist, girlfriend, Virginia Sabbawho will moderate the meeting in the space of the Sardinian Region. It’s 32 degrees outside and no one will sit in a small gazebo, with a chair and table in the center, over which the inscription: “Find love with Salone”. In the Lingotto corridors, however, we do nothing but talk about it after Lagioia. Even among the trees at the stand Aboca Edizioni (lists the most beautiful of all settings). The release was a success: the publishing houses took over over 110 thousand square meters (over 20% last year) were wonderful Italian and foreign guests and turnout, as mentioned, has never been so high. Now though the “political” game begins.

The first step is the appointment of a new president of Circolo dei Lettere, necessary for the subsequent election of the Salone director. Mandate Giulio Te ends with the name of the lawyer Stefano Komodo (prominent member of Opus Dei e very close to right-right) e Mario Turetta, Director General of the Education, Research and Culture Directorate of the Ministry of Culture. However, when it comes to post-Lagioia, there is one pushed towards the female figure. The path chosen to replace the writer from Bari (who will co-host Salone in 2023 and will depart in 2024) is an expression of international interest. Whoever looks at “casa Italia” lists the names Loredana Lipperinialready inserted into the great Lingotto machine, Chiara Valeriowho led the Tempo di libri, and why not, the director of the Circolo dei Lettere, Elena Loewenthal. In short, the 2022 edition has just ended and we are already racing to organize another one. And if we ran to the bookstore more often – to paraphrase Marcos y Marcos canvas bags – well, in 2023 we would also make publishers smile.

Twitter: @AlbMarzocchi

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