International Update: Italy's President on Bookshops; RISE Bookseller Exchange Report

Sergio Mattarella

President Sergio Mattarella recently issued an appeal to save Italy's cinemas and bookstores "amid dwindling audience attendances and fewer in-presence book customers due to online competition," ANSA reported. 

Speaking at the presentation of the David di Donatello film awards, Mattarella said movie theaters continue to suffer, even after Covid, and there are many cities that no longer have accessible venues. "It is an issue that present evident social effects and cannot be considered solely from the commercial standpoint. Movie theatres are a meeting place." 

On preserving bookstores, he noted that "with the same commitment to assuring the constant vitality of the civic fabric, bookshops must be preserved and attention must be placed on those artistic and entertainment sectors that present to more limited audiences but express content of high value and quality." 

Mattarella also observed: "Great attention must be given in particular to the expression of young artists, who must try, experiment and therefore get experience and grow. The entry of new generations produces new richness. It expresses freedom, that freedom to be ensured also to those who do not share our tastes, to those who think differently."


Earlier this year, Australian bookseller Amy McKinnon, book fair manager at the Where the Wild Things Are bookshop in Brisbane, traveled to the U.S. as part of the RISE Booksellers Exchange Program to spend time at Anderson's Bookshop in Naperville, Ill. She described her experience as "the most wonderful week of learning and sharing" in a recent issue of BookPeople's e-newsletter, noting that it "truly reinforced why I love working in bookselling so much."

McKinnon wrote: "Anderson's has fostered an incredibly strong place in the community, running book launches for some of the world's largest authors (hosting more than 7,000 people for Stephen King!), community events, supporting schools, libraries, and local charities. I spent my week at Anderson's in awe of their capacity to scale their business, rival non-independent competitors and stay true to their core values and the spirit of independent bookselling.

"My time at Anderson's was primarily to learn about their book fair business. Anderson's Book Fair Company runs over 300 (!) book fairs each year. Anyone that has run a book fair before can probably imagine what a logistical nightmare this is. In order to facilitate the scale of their business, Anderson's business is complete with trucks, a dedicated warehouse and staff.

"I learnt a lot during my week in Naperville. From information sessions with local teachers, to experiencing their events firsthand, to one-on-one meetings with most of her staff, Becky Anderson (Anderson's owner) was incredibly kind and generous with her time."


Artist, author, and illustrator Angela Harding is the designer of this year's Books Are My Bag Limited-Edition Bag, which will be available exclusively in bookshops across the U.K. and Ireland beginning on Bookshop Day, October 12, sponsored by the Booksellers Association of the U.K. & Ireland. 
Harding has received commissions from most of the U.K.'s major publishers, including illustrating Simon Armitage's collection of poems, Blossomise, and creating an illustrated version of Isabella Tree's bestselling book, Wilding. Her books include A Year Unfolding (2021), Wild Light (2022), and the forthcoming Still Waves & Wild Waters (September 2024).

"I hope book buyers and sellers alike will enjoy this otter design I have done for Books Are My Bag, which I was honored to have been asked to do," Harding said.
Emma Bradshaw, the BA's head of campaigns, commented: "We've been asked by numerous Booksellers Association members to invite Angela to design a Limited-Edition Bag for us, so we were thrilled when she agreed to do so. We know that booksellers and book-lovers alike will be delighted by her beautiful design and keen to get their hands on the bags." --Robert Gray

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