Francesco Scalamonti

La teoria dell'ecologia delle popolazioni organizzative applicata al ciclo di vita del settore italiano del libro: un'analisi con il numero di editori

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The international publishing industry has been going across important transformations in recent years due to new digital information technologies that are redefining its boundaries, production, lead-time and distribution – online stores and independent bookstores, as well as, the usability of the book that has become an increasingly dematerialised and digitalised good. The main characteristic recognised to e-books and audiobooks is the lower price, while, their main criticality is precisely the immateriality that distinguishes them. In particular, the Italian book industry entered the maturity and decline stage has shown the start of the relaunch stage, due to market segments on which new publishers – especially small, very small, and born digital – have successfully positioned themselves, thus, with repercussions on the overall industry’s performance (AIE, 2021). The changed industry’s structure has brought us to investigate its life cycle with the number of industry’s firms, by using the density approach developed within the theory of organisational populations ecology. We assume this approach constitutes an innovation within the studies on the Italian book industry, since as far as we know there are no similar ones. Furthermore, it also is suitable to our research objective that is to verify whether the theory of dependence on organisational density can explain the industry’s life cycle. We conduct the qualitative analysis on the number of firms within the industry, of which we have traced the survival curve; on the number of publications, whose we have identified the industry’s life cycle. On the other hand, the quantitative analysis has been conducted on the number of publications over the period 1990-2018 with autoregressive models (AR 1,1) used in the time-series analysis. The data have been retrieved from the Istat portals. We conclude that dynamics of legitimation prevailed over those of competition within the Italian book industry over the period analysed, and this can explain because its industry’s life cycle has entered the relaunch stage.


  • publishing
  • populations ecology
  • industry’
  • s study
  • time-series analysis


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