WORD OF MOUTH OF BOOKS INTERVIEWED Roberto Mugavero of MINERVA editions
– Introduce yourself to our readers. How did your publishing house start, how did it develop and what are any plans for the future?
The Minerva editions was born in 1989 following my experience gained in the publishing field and which led me to take up a “life bet” in creating a publishing house of “Varia” in my city of Bologna where – at that time – publishing it was almost gone. It was Professor Andrea Emiliani (well-known art historian and then Superintendent of Artistic Heritage of Bologna) who hoped for my choice.
We started with the publication of 4 books in a year and then we have grown to the current over 100 titles already on the calendar for this 2021.
Our editorial intention is to maintain our vocation as publishers of the “Varia”, with some peculiarities that we continue to pursue being more and more – we believe – well known nationally and very well positioned on the approximately 7,000 publishing houses in Italy.
Our historical series, biographies, art and illustrated, cooking, sports and of course fiction are increasingly of high value and recognized as such both in Italy and abroad without forgetting our importance on titles related to our city and our region. Emilia Romagna.
– What kind of readers is it aimed at?
Our reader is very transversal. From historians, to fans of individual categories and who with our titles know they find a great care of edition and their contents, combined more and more with well-known authors, but also experts in their fields who give a guarantee on the literary work that our public publishing house.
– What is the title, the author or the editorial project you are most fond of and why?
This is a question that any publisher is unlikely to unbalance. It’s a bit like asking a parent which child is best for them.
Certainly we publish what excites us, convinces us and that we believe can be loved by many readers even in the awareness of being in a market where the offer is not lacking. This is why our care and continuous investments in titles and authors have been leading us for many years to be an appreciated Italian publishing house.
– In Italy we read little, so the statistics say. Do you think this is true and why and what could be done to reverse the trend?
Absolutely yes, little is read in Italy. We are a nation much more bent on television and social media that are much “less demanding” to follow than a good book in which you need loving school and family teaching to turn people into good readers.
Reading a book is like diving into the ocean with a clean sea full of mystery and discoveries to be made. We must let ourselves be carried away by history (if well written of course) and in the end say that we are sorry to have finished that book but already eager to open another one.
In Italy there are proportionately more publishers than readers, it is up to us to try to change this proportion, or at least to make the number of readers much larger. Surely quality and originality are basic elements in seeking and finding new readers, all combined with knowing the world we walk on and knowing how to tell it adequately and linked to our times.
– What do you think of online sales that are increasingly taking the place of traditional bookstores?
As the publisher – I wrote just above – must parameterize with the company and the social moment in which he lives, this also applies to those who sell our titles.
Personally, I love the bookstore and the bookseller’s profession very much, even though I understand the great difficulty in managing on average about 300 new titles a day … I understand that there is no bookstore in the world capable of holding every single title and the current rotation has still reduced passing from 90 / 120 days to 30/60 days of presence of the title in bookstores. the spaces for the bookseller are what they are and they too must make “of necessity, virtue”.
What is different are the platforms and online sales that have much greater spaces and availability and base their profits on the sale of the single piece. Whether it’s a book or a USB cable, it makes no difference to them, if it sells they won’t run out. While the problem of reabsorption there is no doubt that it exists in the book market and the reasons are “various and varied”. What the traditional bookshop should do is “not be left without the titles that the customer seeks and asks of him”. Of course it may not have a certain volume, but they should all adopt the gift I call “the good pharmacist”. I mean, when we go to the pharmacy it happens to everyone not to find a drug. At that point the pharmacist gives you a note and tells you “come back this afternoon or tomorrow and it will be there”.
Today in Italy there is a widespread network of distributors who follow most of the publishers and the availability of books exists, you just need to want it and look for it with little effort. After all, we publishers give up a very important slice of margins to give: distributors and wholesalers the promotion, distribution and reabsorption of our titles.
The platforms like: Bookdealer.it and Libridaasporto.it are in turn alternative opportunities and I would not be so drastic to consider them “anti Amazon” because Amazon (but not only him) has intercepted a need, so let’s stop criticizing it, but let’s look for solutions and other ideas which are, after all, a prerogative of man.
Once the authors among the first questions they asked you was the following “But is my book in such a showcase?”. Today one of the first questions they ask you is “When will Amazon and IBS have it?”.
I reply that the book is also in bookstores, but then, inside me, I tremble in knowing that I don’t always say – alas – the truth, not having – for the reasons expressed above – direct responsibility.
– What is your relationship with social media, with which strategy do you use them and do you benefit from them?
Even social media now all use them and we too through the most popular channels. Social media are a means of disseminating and getting to know books too, it is enough to be in their use corresponding to what we are, therefore: serious, professional, exhaustive and polite, elements that are not taken for granted for what we often all read on social media …
The book also educates us to be the best of us, and for this purpose they should be used and not to talk as we would not even at the bar.
Thank you and… WI BOOKS !!!
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