Barbara Hoepli on how they love Bookstores in Italy

I met Barbara Hoepli in Prague last month at the RISE Bookselling Conference. She’d just delivered a talk on the Italian bookselling business that referenced Italy’s Levi (Fixed Price) Law which limits the size of discounts that can be “levied” on books sold in the country. It’s designed to help grow and support the book sector, and literacy, and culture. Tangible proof, it is, of the importance Italians assign to books and bookstores in their society. I figured it was worth talking with Barbara not only because she has a very nice voice, but primarily because she’s been in the book business all of her life directing a major educational publishing house and a sizeable bookstore in Milan.   We talk here about, among other things, market regulation, books being the cornerstone of our society, learning from the past, her first name, Switzerland, her family’s 150 year history with books, and how books help us to grow and create. And yes, I left the sound of her phone ringing in (it’s loud and startling) because I think it provides a nice little smidgen of extra information with which you can get to know her as a person just a tiny bit better. I dunno. You tell me. 

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