Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The War of the Book Fairs

Promoting your book is already difficult, and the War of the Book Fairs in Italy does not help. If we take a closer look, we notice that Italians just love to bicker about soccer, women, politics and any other controversial subject. The German poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe already noticed during his Italian travels that “it is incomprehensible how anyone gets along with another person, since quarreling seems to be common denominator among all social classes.

In recent year, the all-powerful Milanese publishers want to make money by creating their own book fair. It would compete with the Salone del Libro in Turin, which after the Frankfurter Buchmesse (The book fair in Frankfurt), it is one of the most prominent book fairs in Europe.

However, during the last few year, Milanese publishers wanted to leverage their success with their own book fair. This in turn triggered the War of the Book Fair Giants. The Italian Minister of Culture acted as the peace maker. He suggested to have the book fair at two cities simultaneously. But cooperation and compromise are not the strong points of Italians, as shown in the 63 governments elected in 69 years…Milan stuck to its guns and the mayor Turin pointed out that Milan organizes the number 1 book fair. The Minister of Culture commented that this is the way wars start, by this kind of rigid attitudes.

So what does this mean in the long run? As a book lover, writer or publisher, visit any well-organized book fair you can. This could mean that you have to buy a ticket to the book fair in Frankfurt, followed by one to Milan as well as Turin. All in all, not too shaby methink.