More than a month later, the controversy surrounding the Turin Book Fair continues

More than a month later, the controversy surrounding the Turin Book Fair continues
More than a month later, the controversy surrounding the Turin Book Fair continues

TURIN – A new chapter for the world ended more than a month ago Book Fairthe first under the direction of Annalena Benini, which brought attention to many topics for readers of all ages. A practically record-breaking XXXVI edition of the Turin International Book Fair: five days which brought 222,000 people to the Lingotto pavilions.

But, as in any major demonstration worth its salt, alongside the good moments and meetings to remember, there was no shortage of tension and controversy: pro-Palestinian demonstrations, protests against Elena Cecchettin, the writer Stefano Massini verbally attacked and pushed; the thorny issues of the host region, Liguria, and the welcome or unwelcome presence of Fedez.

And since we are showing off the strengths and weaknesses of one of the most awaited cultural initiatives, we cannot fail to take into account the fact that the publishers present at the Salone met quite a few obstaclesalso and not only of a practical nature.

While this is to be expected, as something can always go wrong, it is also true that more thought is needed about what goes on behind the scenes of events of this magnitude.

A show far from independent publishing houses

This is what was brought to public attention by four small publishing houses – Rina Edizioni, LiberAria Editrice, TerraRossa Edizioni and Stilo Editrice specifically – for whom this Salon has left a bad taste in the mouth and quite a bit of regret.

Certainly, for them, an edition not to be remembered with positive nostalgia and which accuses the Benini Salon of lacking attention towards the independent publishers who, in this case, entrusted their complaints to a long social post:

Long and polemical post, (because it’s always good), shared with LiberAria Editrice, TerraRossa Edizioni and Stilo Editrice, to reopen the issue with the International Book Fair, which we can extend more generally to all fairs and the malfunctions of many aspects which are leading to the collapse of publishing. Why we think it is correct to uncover the altars.

Dear Turin Book Fair, we waited a month after the end of the fair before writing this post, the time necessary to make the disappointment and bitterness go away, but also to have a response to the certified e-mail of grievances that we sent you, which it didn’t happen on time. In short, you ghosted us, as in the best toxic relationships, and you did so from the beginning. But let’s go in order.

This year we were four independent publishers, Liberaria, Rina, Stilo and TerraRossa, and we decided to take a larger stand (24m2 instead of the usual 16), confirming our participation as soon as registration opened and paying our fee regularly in half March.

At the beginning of March we started sending emails to find out if the stand we had had in pavilion 3 for the last five years had been reconfirmed, as we hoped.
Nobody ever answered us.

A first communication arrived on April 15th, following numerous unanswered emails and as many phone calls in which it was reiterated to us that you were too busy to answer us. Because we, on the other hand, notoriously spot cheetahs.

When the proposal arrived, on the evening of April 15, the stand was considerably smaller than the one paid for and in a completely different location.
At that point we wrote back, but once again no response until April 20th, in which we were assigned a 24m2 stand this time, but clearly obtained with difficulty from someone else’s eviction: the layout of the stand was reminiscent of a 1990s kitchen 80, a 16m2 square block plus an 8m2 corridor, which naturally remained unused.

This extraordinary delay prevented us from doing many things: from being able to use the additional services of the fair, which expired on April 20th and for which we would have had to pay surcharges if we had wanted to use them; to prepare communication and graphics in time, to send the stand number to our distributors in good time. We organized the Show in ten days of forced labor and weekend meetings.

The surprises you reserved for us, however, were not over: when we came to set up, the curious position of the stand looked towards the wall, had a different plan than the approved one, and a bizarre closed side that looked out towards the pavilion. We were basically invisible. The remote and in itself unobtainable position was further contributed to our oblivion by the fact that two of us, Liberaria and TerraRossa, could not be found on your site even with the search engine, an inconvenience which you remedied on Friday evening and only on our report.

On the first day there was no electricity at our stand, so not only did we not have light and the possibility of charging POS and phones, but we also had electricians on the ladder performing curious acrobatics among the readers who approached the stand.
In all of this, not even a word, an email, a message, a meeting, a hand outstretched to try to help us or at least respond to us.

Perhaps you wanted to tell us that, despite the nice proclamations, small doesn’t count, yet we little ones in our own small way have been able to make a difference, even for the Salone.

Leaving aside our experience, we find it absurd that a cultural event of international scope establishes that an entrance ticket costs 22 euros. We believe it is useless, obvious and therefore offensive for the reader to argue why.

It will never be too late when publishers and those who work in this bizarre (and unhealthy) world of publishing will understand and learn that giving you less importance, or rather giving themselves less importance and taking themselves less seriously, weaken the mechanisms that move this infernal machine to imagining other more collaborative and supportive ways, based on respect and awareness of oneself and above all of others, therefore on ethics, could be viable ways for self-sufficiency. Culture should open up and tend towards people, avoiding useless and flat “ego-references”.

We would like this unpleasant experience not to remain just a bad memory or an anecdote from the last edition of the Fair to be told with anger, but to serve as a case on which to reflect to try to increasingly reduce what happens to other publishers in the future and above all to change direction and perspective.

Now trust is the only weapon we have left to recover from the stupor.
Certain of your silence, we trust that we will be amazed by your reflection.

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