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Press release

Books production and reading in Italy

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After the 2010 recovery, 2011 marks another standstill for Italian book production: new titles decrease by 9.4% and copies by 5.9%.

Publishers consider as main factors hindering books reading: lack of adequate book reading education policies in the school (46.3%); scarce support for small publishing houses (31.5%), low cultural levels of the population (37.2%). One publisher out of four mentions high prices.  To widen the readership, publishers count on independent bookshops (36.3%), major distribution companies (31.8%), and, to a lesser extent (11%), e-commerce.

Over 15% of the books printed in Italy, i.e. nearly 9,000 titles, were also proposed as e-books. Big publishers score the highest share of e-books, covering  87.8% of their printed production.

In 2012, over 26 million people aged 6 and over said they had read at least one book during the 12 months prior to the interview, for reasons not related to work or school. Compared to 2011, the proportion of book readers remains basically stable (46%).

Women read more than men: during last year, 51.9% of women read at least one book, compared with 39.7% of men. Gender difference in reading behaviour becomes evident as early as the age of 11 and tends to decrease only over 75.

The highest percentage of readers was found among the 11-14 age group (60.8%).

In the North and in the Centre areas of the Country, over half of the population (52.2%) aged 6 years and over read books. In the South and in the Islands area the percentage of readers fell to 34.2%, albeit with a small increase as compared to 2011.

Books readers in Italy tend to be weak readers: 46% of them read no more than three books in 12 months, while “strong readers” (12 books or more) are only 14.5%.

One family out of ten (10.2%) doesn’t have any book at home; 63.6% reported to own up to 100 books.

About 14.5 million web surfers use the Internet to read online newspapers, news or webzines. Over 1.9 million people aged between 16 and 74 buy books, newspapers, magazines or e-books on the Internet.

Nearly half of the Internet users who surfed the web in places other than home or workplace, via cell phone, smartphone or other mobile device other than PC, read or downloaded newspapers, news or journals (46.1%).

For further information please refer to the Italian version.

Contact person:
Statistics on social structure

Fabrizio Arosio
ph. +39 06 4673.7210
email arosio@istat.it

Reference period: Years 2011 and 2012

Date of Issue: 16 May 2013



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