Is Children’s Literature in Italy Still the “Cinderella” of the Literary Market? An Analysis of LibeRWEB ’s Reports
This paper analyses the publishing trends of children’s literature in Italy on the basis of the annual reports issued by LiBeRWEB. The analysis, which focuses on the book publishing market, starts by introducing the main Italian publishing houses, in whose hands the publication of children’s books is concentrated. The paper will also talk about independent micropublishing by introducing the most active publishing houses, which are specialised in specific areas, such as gender studies. The publishing market will be progressively investigated by analysing several data, which suggest that literature for children and young adults is the driving segment of the Italian book publishing market. Indeed, despite the economic crisis, this is the only segment that has had positive results in the last years. In particular, the data examine several elements, which will allow us to understand such a phenomenon. If in the last years the so-called “high literature” has lost many percentage points (-7.6% in 2009), the “Cinderella of literature” has, instead, obtained positive results (+4%), maintaining constant production levels. Despite the use of percentages, the analysis takes into consideration other elements, like the quality of works, whose criteria are difficult to establish. The data show a positive change: if up to 2006 the number of novels of mediocre quality was high, probably do to a consumer trend of the market, from 2007 onwards, the situation progressively improves. Finally, the article briefly discusses the data of the digital market by analysing the role of audiobooks and e-books in the Italian market of children’s literature.