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Read a book. And then listen to it. Or the other way around. But not only. It is the new “marriage” between the HarperCollins publishing house and the Storielibere podcast platform, which launch an innovative joint project, with the aim of creating a bridge between two parallel narrative universes focused on the word: that of the book, with a centuries-old tradition, and that of the podcast, which only entered in 2008 as a neologism in the Treccani Vocabulary but is in a dizzying rise, in Italy and in the world.
“We are the first – says the CEO of HarperCollins Italia, Laura Donnini – on the international scene to launch a real cross-media project between a book publisher and a podcast publisher, which is not a simple outfit”, but instead responds “to the growing need of contamination between different forms of content use, reaching a new, young and native digital audience “. To get an idea of the phenomenon, adds the CEO of Storielibere, Rossana De Michele, “in 2019 the sector grew by + 16% reaching 12.1 million listeners in Italy. During the lockdown it literally exploded, with a + 35% audience in two months. Hard core, the band between 18 and 38 years, equally divided between men and women, but – he says – they write to us over the age of ninety or teachers who recommend our podcasts to the boys. They are also strong where the cultural offer is reduced, where there are fewer cinemas or bookstores. The podcasts then follow you wherever you want, even when you can’t read, like in the car. They give the idea of not having wasted time. You can subscribe to the series and thus create a community of loyal people who are attentive to certain contents. And they don’t take anything away from books. It is the classic case in which one plus one does not make two, but triggers a product value multiplier ”.
“The idea – continues Donnini – is to bring the reading and listening public closer, for a complex and complete experience, with original contents. And to attract authors who want to experiment. Because today we are not satisfied with just one use “. We therefore start on September 3 with the arrival in the library of the first two volumes dedicated to some of the most successful podcasts of Storielibere: “F *** ing genius” by the physicist Massimo Temporelli, on the genes that changed history, by Marie Curie to Steve Jobs, who with 15 online episodes and over 500,000 plays has been at the top of the Italian podcast science ranking for 365 days a year and can count on a community of over 35,000 visitors on the dedicated page. And “The gorilla has it small” by biologist Vincenzo Venuto, a journey in the footsteps of the animal man from sex to pain, 12 episodes long seller, over 300,000 plays and 25,000 visitors.
Podcast fans will find new insights, details, perspectives and illustrations in the books. Readers with QR codes will be directed directly to listening to the podcast. At the beginning of 2021, “Political Bestiary” of the philosopher Gianluca Briguglia and “Fabulous Economy” of Luciano Canova will follow, while working on podcasts of volumes already published or which will be born together with books. But is it different to write for one or the other? “I thought it was very similar and instead I changed my mind,” says Venuto. “I went through three stages – Temporelli agrees -. At first I went arm in arm and I found myself improvising the theory of relativity in front of the microphone. Just to harness my enthusiasm, I understood that podcasts should be written. But then I also found out that those texts aren’t good for a book. And they must be re-studied “.