Italian-based digital publisher 40kbooks was founded with short form fiction in mind. The publisher specializes in publishing fiction novellas in the eBook form. Authors on the imprint include: Bruce Sterling, Mike Resnick, Jeff VanDerMeer and Derrick De Kerckhove. 40k is owned by DigiPub, who also owns Bookrepublic, one of Italy’s largest eBookstores. eBookNewser caught up with 40k CEO Marco Ferrario to discuss the eBook scene in Italy.

EBN: How is digital publishing evolving in Italy these days?

MF: The eBook market started in Italy only in September 2010, as in many other European countries. After 6-8 months we have almost 10,000 titles available in ePUB, PDF and MOBI and about 20,000 are expected by the end of the year. There is no Kindle store. Amazon.it just arrived in November 2010. But it’s coming quickly. Bookrepublic is growing at an average 20% a month since January and April is up 35% over March.

Compared to the other European markets, Italy is behind the UK (the entrance of the Kindle in the UK with 500,000 titles was disruptive), Germany (100,000+ digital titles) and France (50,000+titles), but slightly ahead of Spain and Sweden (4,000 digital titles each). Kindle doesn’t seem to have the same penetration power in non-English speaking countries. Apart from the UK, in all the other European countries eBooks count for less than 1% over the whole trade book market in 2010. This year expectations are between 1% and 2%. We’re 3-4 years behind the US and 1-2 years behind the UK. Read more