Produzione e lettura di libri

Books production and reading in Italy

The Italian publishing sector is very peculiar: over half of the active operators (54.8%) are “small” publishers, who publish no more than 10 titles per year. The "big" publishers (with a production of more than 50 books per year), although representing only 13.6% of the total number of publishers, cover more than three quarters (76.1%) of production as regards the titles and almost 86% referring to the number of printed copies.

Over 50% of publishers are based in Northern Italy; the city of Milan alone hosts more than a quarter of the "big" publishers.

In 2016, the publishing sector showed a slight increase in production compared to the previous year: the titles increased by 3.7%; however the trend of reducing the number of printed copies also persisted in 2016 (-7.1%).

In 2016, more than one book in three (about 22,000 titles) is also available in the e-book format; the digital version is available for more than half the school books (53.3%).

Almost one in four publishers is part of a trade association; among these, about 50% is associated with the aim of updating on regulatory and commercial news in the publishing sector.

In 2016 40,5% of people aged 6 and over (23 million est.) have read at least one book in the 12 months preceding the interview, for purposes other than school or work. The figure decreased compared to 2015, after the decline started in 2011.

Women show a higher familiarity with books: 47.1% of women are estimated to be book readers, against 33,5% of men. The age group that read the most is the one composed by the young aged 11-14.

The Educational level is related to reading book: 73.6% of graduates are book readers in comparison with 48.9% of those who have attained a higher degree at most.

9.1% of the Italian households do not own any books, 64.4% own 100 books at most.

School is not enough. Family is a key factor: 66.8% of youngsters aged 6 to 18 with both parents reading books are book readers too, vs. only 30.9% of those whose parents do not read books.

Book reading is still less frequent in Southern Italy, where fewer than one out of three (27.5%) reads at least one book. In Nord-Est the estimated percentage of book readers is 48.7%.

According to the publishers, the main factors that determine the modest propensity to reading in Italy are the low cultural level of the population (39.7% of responses) and the lack of effective educational policies for reading education (37.7%).

books, culture, publishing industry, reading, statistics report
Communication culture trips, Education and training
document typology:
Press release
Reference period
Year 2016
Date of publication
27 December 2017
Full text
(pdf 152 KB)

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