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News Publishing trends

Frankfurt calls, and now also answers in German

Thanks to the new version of the platform for launching Italian books abroad, engaging in dialogue with the German-speaking world is now even easier.

    All publishing organisations are buzzing with excitement in anticipation of Italy's role as Guest of Honour 2024 at the Frankfurt Book Fair. One example is, the portal dedicated to promoting Italian culture, language and publishing worldwide, which has decided to translate the contents of its already trilingual website into German for the occasion.  

    The new version, produced thanks to the contribution of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MAECI), was introducedat a press conference in Rome attended by Extraordinary Commissioner Mauro Mazza, Treccani Director General Massimo Bray, MAECIDirector General for Public and Cultural Diplomacy Simona Battiloro, IEA Events Manager Paola Seghi, Director of the Book and Reading Centre Luciano Lanna, Maria Carolina Foi of the Italian Cultural Institute in Berlin and Editorial Manager of Newitalianbooks Paolo Grossi.  

    A variety of topics were addressed during the meeting, moderated by journalist Marina Collaci, from the importance of having a tool for the dissemination and in-depth exploration of the state of Italian culture abroad, to the wonderful opportunity offered by Newitalianbooks to engage in dialogue with Germany in a new, more agile and direct way during the journey with 'Destination Frankfurt.' 

    Common intentions

    "Italians appreciate Germans but don't love them, and Germans love Italians but don't appreciate them" so, with a saying that hides the scant truth of an old prejudice, Extraordinary Commissioner Mauro Mazza joked about Italian and German relations. He went on to emphasise how, conversely, all initiatives with 'Destination Frankfurt' are an opportunity to overcome stereotypes, and reiterated that "our common intention, along with Treccani and the Turin Motor Show, is for Italians and Germans to get to know each other better, so that we can finally appreciate and love each other."

    Newitalianbooks: a precious treasure chest

    In this context, in the Commissioner’s words, Newitalianbooks turns out to be "a precious treasure trove" and a very rich repository of information for anyone who wants to explore the world of Italian publishing, for industry professionals - translators, literary agents,  talent scouts and editors - and of those who simply wish to broaden their knowledge of our literary production and satisfy a "pervasive desire for Italy" that seems to be blowing over the Alps.

    "It's a place of convergence for all German readers extremely interested in our culture and a range of people who nurture a true passion for Italy," asserts Maria Carolina Foi of the Italian Cultural Institute in Berlin.

    "Italy should have a portal to demonstrate the strength of Italian publishing. The website is important because we can showcase our country through books and help readers understand the vibrancy of Italian publishing," says Massimo Bray, Managing Director of Treccani and promoter of Newitalianbooks.

    For an increasingly international Italy

    Simona Battiloro from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs also emphasised the "political will to invest in the international promotion of Italian publishing," which corresponds to the interest of foreign publishers, particularly in Germany, in our publishing.

    As a result, funds from the Italian State to promote Italian publishing abroad have increased since 2020, and this year €300,000 has been allocated to initiatives in Germany. Furthermore, 140 works have been translated into German in the last two years, thanks to Ministry funding.

    The German language will also take the centre stage at the Turin Book Show in May and Germany, as IEA’s Paola Seghi recalls, and is the country that is the "fourth largest exporter of rights" for Italy, while "small publishers account for about a quarter of the total contracts signed." According to the latest data reported by the IEA Research Office, Italy's sales of foreign rights amounted to 7,889 works in 2022 (around 1,800 titles were sold in 2000).

    An excellent stopover in anticipation of the Frankfurt Book Fair

    Finally, Paolo Grossi, Editorial Director of Newitalianbooks, highlights the platform's uniqueness, even compared to similar European initiatives: NIB is a website that can be accessed in four languages (Italian, English, German and French), where Italian publishers can post their books' presentation cards free of charge. It offers in-depth insights, with interviews with prominent cultural figures. It is a showcase for Italian books abroad and has a special section dedicated to the projects of the Italian Cultural Institutes around the world. It also serves as a physical meeting point, thanks to the participation of the organisation at events, and national and international trade fairs and festivals, from Più libri più liberi in Rome and Italissimo in Paris to the Torino Book Show and, of course, the Frankfurt Fair. 

    And that's not all. This year, Newitalianbooks launched a special initiative dedicated to foreign publishers: a guide, available in print and digital formats, to easily navigate the procedures of the main translation support programmes for Italian works around the world. These programmes are also funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Culture.  

    The new 'A book I would like to translate' section offers translators an opportunity to propose and present a book that has never been translated into their own language. 

    In anticipation of the Frankfurt Book Fair, Newitalianbooks is also publishing investigations and interviews from the world of German-language publishing, featuring prominent names such as Ludwig Paulmichl (Folio Verlag), Susan Timor (Beck), Johan Ulrich (Avant-verlag), Alessandra Ballesi-Hansen (not only Verlag) and Piero Salabé (Hanser Verlag).

    The journey with 'Destination Frankfurt,' therefore, continues on board Newitalianbooks, the digital means of transport for Italian books around the world: Willkommen an alle Fans italienischer Literatur!

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