Should we launch a Book World Constituent Assembly? (Why Mario is right.)

Mario Guaraldi
Mario Guaraldi

We’ve argued and made up at least a thousand times and we’ll probably keep at it for another thousand: he’s the only outstanding Grand Old Man of the Italian publishing industry who still has a young-at-heart’s fighting spirit that never fails him, he’s Mario Guaraldi. Read this article he wrote a week ago: IL MERCATO DEI LIBRI CROLLA. E L’ASSOCIAZIONE EDITORI SPOSA LA RETORICA (THE BOOK MARKET IS CRASHING. AND THE PUBLISHERS ASSOCIATION EMBRACES RHETORIC).

Mario’s right about everything, except for one important thing: he’s mistaken to keep thinking that the AIE (Italian Publishers Association) is a relevant speaker concerning the future of the book market. He’s mistaken to think that all we have to do is, like he writes, “send home all the leadership of the AIE“. The AIE hasn’t mattered anymore for quite some time, in fact everything it does and says is totally irrelevant. And its leadership, just like its logic, is nothing other than the longa, or perhaps now brevis manus of the three or four publishing groups that are just now beginning to understand that, with the digital era, their domination is destined to crumble and collapse.

But I do think that calling for a Constituent Assembly of the Book World is good, fine and right. Why not? Why don’t we try, regardless of the AIE? I think, and I believe Mario agrees, that it’s worth a try. We can organize it to consider the key points that have to be dealt with in a constructive and propositional manner, leaving others to waste their time in an unproductive and foolish defense of a past that nobody feels any longing for. A Book World Constituent Assembly that meets in order to recreate the book market and book fair, based on new principles of economic, environmental and cultural sustainability, with the purpose of identifying:

  • new sustainable business models for all the key players in the book fair (digital first, etc.)
  • digital solutions for the circulation of culture (books that are out of print, sold out, but under copyrights, untraceable copyrights, etc.)
  • DRM

So who’s with me?. Other than Mario, I mean, co-opted ex officio 🙂

This post is also available in: Italian