Figures released by ISTAT, the Italian national statistics institute, on the eve of the opening of the international book fair in Frankfurt, show that in 2004 there was a drop in the number of publishing houses in Italy from 3,310 in 2003 to 3,235 in 2004.

However, the number of titles published was up by 9.5 per cent and the number of books printed increased by 10.5 per cent. New books made up 63.7 per cent of the total published, an average number of 4,600 books being printed for each new publication. Fewer books were published for small children in 2004 but more school textbooks were on offer. The majority of books published were for adults, with 41,557 titles, 168 million copies in all being released onto the market.