In 1841 Alessandro and Felice Paggi found a printing press and bookstore that actively participates in the Italian Risorgimento, specializing in the publication of texts for schools, children and young people. Carlo Lorenzini a.k.a. "Collodi" is one of its most prolific authors (“il Giannettino” was one of the 19th century’s most successful scholastic series), and his 1883 The Adventures of Pinocchio will become the most translated Italian book in the world. In 1889 the Paggi brothers cede ownership of the company to Roberto Bemporad (Alessandro Paggi’s son-in-law) and his son Enrico. Roberto’s premature death the following year leaves the company in the hands of young Enrico, still in his early 20s.
In 1906 Enrico Bemporad establishes the limited company “R. Bemporad e Figlio.” In the space of only a few years, under his skillful leadership the bookstore-publisher is transformed into a modern business of international caliber, a prestigious publisher of books for young people and schools as well as both fiction and non-fiction. The advent of Fascism marks the beginning of a very difficult period for Bemporad: the crisis stemming from the government’s decision to adopt a single State text in all Italian elementary schools causes the banks’ entrance on the board of directors in an attempt to overcome the company’s economic difficulties. After two decades of success that led Bemporad to become one of Italy’s leading publishing companies, the educational policies of the Fascist government and the general economic crisis of 1929 lead to an increasingly grave crisis by the early 1930s. In 1934 the company comes under the control of the newborn IRI, which excludes Bemporad from the company’s management and brings into its ownership and management the publishers Sansoni and Le Monnier and the Orzalesi family, owners of Manetti & Roberts, to whose representative on the board of directors, Renato Giunti, the company’s general management is entrusted.
In 1919 Bemporad, together with Messaggerie, founds L.I.R. (Librerie Italiane Riunite), Italy’s first chain of bookstores.
While the publishing company’s new management is trying to improve its fortunes, the Racial Laws emanated by the regime force it, from one day to the next, to change its name: the publisher is now called Marzocco, recalling Florence’s traditional emblem (the Marzocco is the lion that, with its right paw, holds a shield with the lily that symbolizes the city).
In these difficult years Renato Giunti begins a reorganization that slowly brings the publishing company back to economic stability. In the years following World War II Marzocco initiates a development plan that will characterize the decades to come, through the acquisition of various publishing houses: Giacomo Agnelli, the historic Milanese publisher specialized in scholastic publishing, in 1947, and Editrice Universitaria, responsible for the introduction in Italy of the most important studies in international psychology and whose consultants included Cesare Musatti, Guido Petter, Alberto Marzi, in 1949.
In 1946 the words “previously Bemporad” are added to the Marzocco sign. The name officially changes to Bemporad Marzocco in 1960.
In 1956, Renato Giunti acquires full ownership of the publishing house. The policy of expansion continues in 1960 with the take-over of bankrupt Florentine publisher Barbèra, in operation since 1855 and which was renowned for its cultural commitment and the graphic elegance of its publications. Founded by Turin-born Gaspero Barbèra, its authors include Gioberti, D'Azeglio, Tommaseo, Capponi, De Amicis, Carducci e D'Annunzio, and in its catalogue is the twenty-volume national edition of the Works of Galileo Galilei. In 1965 the Consorzio editoriale Giunti is created, bringing together all the publishing houses acquired up to this point, a group which will include, as of 1973, the Milan-based Aldo Martello, publisher of important and successful fiction series and refined art volumes.
In 1975 Sergio Giunti, Renato’s son, succeeds his father as head of the Consorzio. Despite the serious damage suffered during the 1966 flood in Florence, which causes the loss of the entire warehouse of books and all the printing equipment, the company continues to broaden its catalogue with new series and expands thanks to the addition of new publishing companies: Me.di.Sviluppo in 1975, Organizzazioni Speciali in 1978, and Edizioni Primavera and Lisciani e Giunti in 1985. In 1986 Sergio Giunti initiates an important publishing project in the periodicals sector – where the company is already present thanks to the bimonthly Psicologia Contemporanea, a sector leader, and the subscription-based bimonthly La Vita Scolastica, it, too, a sector leader with over 70,000 paying subscribers – with the launch of 6 monthly cultural titles available both at newsstands and via subscription: Art e Dossier, Storia e Dossier, Medicina e Dossier, Musica e Dossier, Scienza e dossier, and, later, Archeologia Viva.
In 1990 Gruppo Editoriale Giunti is born, an umbrella group that encompasses the publishing companies and various publishing trademarks acquired up to this point. In 1991 an abandoned industrial fabric complex in Prato, “il Fabbricone,” is acquired and transformed into a modern full-cycle graphic design company: photolithography, flat and roto-offset printing, binding, and a logistics center. The new company, under the leadership of Martino Montanarini, takes the name of Giunti Industrie Grafiche. In this period the company’s diversification intensifies further: in multimedia with the establishment of Giunti Multimedia; in radio with the acquisition of Radio Montebeni; and in distribution with the creation ofEuropean Book Service and the acquisition of Orlandini S.r.l. (a company specialized in large-scale retail distribution bookselling).
Also in 1991, the Group acquires a small Verona-based publishing company specialized in handbooks, Demetra S.r.l., destined to become one of Italian publishing’s surprise success stories: from its roughly 300 million lire in 1991, within ten years its revenue grows to surpass 100 billion. Born as a publishing company, after assuming the leadership of the handbooks sector Demetra begins opening bookstores all over Italy, surpassing 100 points of sale in only a few years.
Growth in the multimedia sector is quite strong: the Group acquires Genoa-based Interactive Labs, specializing in multimedia professional training, and creates The Brain Farm S.r.l. in the Internet sector, Virtual Dreams in the gaming sector, and Giunti Ricerca, specializing in European Community research projects. Art On Line S.p.A. is founded in 1995, proprietor of the portal www.artonline.it, specializing in art and still a leader in the sector today. Heading a temporary business association, in 1996 Giunti wins the contract to manage the service sector of the Florence’s state museum network (Uffizi, Accademia, Bargello, Medici Chapels, Boboli Gardens, Pitti Palace, Archaeological Museum, and Opificio delle Pietre Dure).
In 2000 Giunti consolidates its leadership with a 20% market share in the elementary school sector. In 2001 it acquires 100% of Dami – leading publisher in the children’s books sector and renowned even outside of Italy for the quality of its illustrations, graphics and text, together with its competitive pricing – which is incorporated into Giunti in 2003. In 2007 Dami International, the company that manages co-publishing rights in the rest of the world, is acquired as well, incorporated into Giunti in 2008. In 2002 all multimedia activities of Giunti Multimedia and Giunti Ricerca are merged into Giunti Labs, which becomes the principal European private laboratory for research into new technologies for learning and professional training.
In 2003 Giunti Gruppo Editoriale S.p.A. changes its name to Giunti Editore S.p.A., and the following year incorporates the publishing operations of Demetra S.r.l., which also changes its name to Giunti al Punto S.p.A., becoming the company that manages the proprietary chain of bookstores. In March 2005, Giunti Scuola S.r.l. and Giunti Distribuzione S.r.l. are founded for the purposes of distribution and logistics. With the acquisition of Librerie del Centro, in September 2005 the Giunti al Punto chain reaches a total of 140 points of sale: it thus becomes the Italian bookstore chain with the most points of sale and the second-highest revenue. In July 2006, the new publishing company EVRO-GIUNTI is founded in Belgrade, Serbia, with which Giunti, thanks to its 50% stake in Evro Editore, enters directly into the Balkan book market, thus marking an important first step in the development of the region’s publishing industry.
In September 2006 Giunti acquires a 50% stake in Touring Editore, the publishing house of Touring Club Italiano, since 1894 Italy’s most consolidated mass tourism association and most reliable source of tourist information, with a catalogue of over 700 titles between maps and books. In 2010 Giunti takes control of the company by increasing its share to 51%. Starting on January 1, 2007, Giunti signs a distribution agreement with Edizioni Del Borgo, whose catalogue offers extracurricular and miscellaneous titles for preschool and elementary school and high-quality books for both educators and parents. In late January 2007, a 50% stake is acquired in Giorgio Nada Editore, a publisher specializing in books and magazines regarding automobiles and motorcycles: drivers and competitions, technology, models and designs.
May 2007 sees the birth of GAMM, Giunti Arte Mostre Musei, a new company of the Giunti Group created with the goal of extending the publisher’s activities in the art sector, and particularly in the realm of exhibitions and catalogues. With the July 2007 acquisition of a 50% ownership stake in the Florentine publisher Fatatrac, Giunti’s offering is enhanced by a children-centric catalogue characterized by a passionate striving for high-quality illustrations. In 2009 a 100% stake in the company was acquired, followed by its incorporation into Giunti Editore. Fatatrac was entrusted to the Group’s subsidiary Del Borgo in 2010.
In August 2007 Giunti O.S. Organizzazioni Speciali, a leader in the psychological assessment sector, founds Eurotests Editions, which initiates an expansion process that over the following decade will give rise to branches in many other countries, both in Europe and beyond. In terms of catalogue, history and market, Giunti O.S. is the leading Italian publisher of psycho-diagnostic tests and tools: it develops intervention tools and methodologies in all fields, from the clinical arena to the psychology of human resource management, school, and career. The new company aims to consolidate Giunti’s role in the market of clinical psycho-diagnostics and tests for HR and for scholastic and professional counseling.
In 2008 Giunti Editore acquires a stake in Editoriale Fiorentina, publisher of the Corriere Fiorentino (local edition of the Corriere della Sera) with a share of 15%. The company is controlled by RCS and some of the most important Tuscan companies own stakes in it. Sergio Giunti is its president.
In March 2008 Giunti acquires 60% of Motta Junior, a catalogue characterized by its high literary and educational quality, thus reinforcing its leadership in the children’s publishing sector which it already held through Dami Editore, Giunti Junior, Giunti Kids, Touring Junior and Fatatrac. Full ownership of the company is acquired in 2009, following by its incorporation into Giunti Editore.
In June 2008 Giunti acquires a 50% stake in Edizioni del Borgo s.r.l. as well, whose distribution the Group had already been handling since January 2007. In 2010 Giunti Editore acquires a controlling 51% stake in the company. That fall an agreement is reached for the acquisition of 60% of Editoriale Scienza, a Trieste-based publishing company specialized in popular scientific education for children and young people with large-format science books, game-books and practical experiment manuals. On the production and distribution front, the agreement becomes operational in January 2009. In April 2009 Giunti Editore acquires the trademark De Vecchi Editore from Albin Michel Editions, thus consolidating a leadership in the manuals and popular education sector which it already held through Demetra. Also in April 2009, Giunti signs an agreement with Associazione Slow Food through which Giunti Editore acquires a 20% stake in Slow Food Editore s.r.l. The agreement, with the intent of spreading a culture of food with strong connections to tradition and the local territory, calls for the development of a number of co-published projects.
Starting in September 2009, the Giunti sales network begins distributing Slow Food Editore’s titles and synergies are created between Giunti al Punto bookstores and Slow Food’s “Condotte”. In the same year Giunti becomes shareholder of reference, along with Costa Edutainment and Gruppo Abele, for Civita Servizi S.r.l., the company founded to grasp new entrepreneurial opportunities in the cultural patrimony sector, with the goal of giving rise to a “comprehensive operator” capable of offering integrated services in the sector. In June an agreement is signed with Emmelibri (Gruppo Messaggerie Italiane) to create a new company for book sales and marketing. In the company – with equal 50% shares – the partners grant the following shareholding participation: 100% of Librerie Giunti al Punto, 82% of Opportunity, 100% of Fastbook (including wholesale and Librerie Ubik/), 100% of IBS (Internet Bookshop), and 50% of Altair (Librerie Melbookstore), which will subsequently become 75%. This becomes a book sales and marketing hub that will cover all channels of the trade market: from large-scale retail distribution to e-commerce, bookstore franchising to wholesale, megastores to small local bookshops.
The new company Giunti e Messaggerie is founded on January 18, 2010. In March of the same year, Giunti acquires a 20% stake in Simplicissimus Book Farm, a start-up founded in June 2006 for selling digital reading devices and distributing e-books.
On June 2, 2010 Sergio Giunti receives the "Lombard Elite" award during Milano Finanza’s Company Awards 2010. Giunti Group’s President obtains this accolade, given for the first time to a publisher, in recognition of the group’s effective sales strategy (including the use of joint-venture agreements), the success of its strategic acquisitions, and its projection toward innovative sectors.
Black Velvet s.r.l. is founded on July 15, 2010, of which Giunti holds a 60% share. The Black Velvet trademark, already present on the market for many years, represents one of Italy’s few publishing realities with specific expertise in the comics sector and that publishes the great masters of Italian and international comics, such as Crepax and Trudeau. In 2010 Databank once again names Giunti Editore a "Company To Watch" in light of its performance. In the ranking of top publishers by revenue, Giunti consolidates its fourth-place position behind Mondadori, RCS and De Agostini.
In February 2011 Giunti Scuola, the Group’s company with a leading position in scholastic publishing, shifts its middle-school branch of the company to a new company, Giunti e Tancredi Vigliardi Paravia Editori S.r.l., of which 60% is owned by Giunti Scuola and 40% by Tancredi Vigliardi Paravia, the new company’s president. In the same year, Databank names Giunti Editore a "Company To Watch 2010". In 2012, the Group begins a company reorganization that leads to the incorporation of Giunti Servizi and Giunti Distribuzione within Giunti Editore.
Giunti Editore consolidates its third-place position in the market behind Arnoldo Mondadori Editore and RCS Libri, with its share significantly increasing. The Group launches 550 new releases and 500 reprints, with an e-book catalogue that undergoes strong growth. ThePeppa Pig series enjoys continued success, having sold more than 6 million copies in only 3 years. In fiction there is a notable investment in Italian and foreign authors, as well as the editorial surprise of 2013, Nessuno sa di noi: a true story written by a practically unknown author that sells more than 100,000 copies and qualifies as one of the five finalists for the Strega Prize. The subsidiary Giunti e Tancredi Vigliardi Paravia Editori and Istituto dell’Enciclopedia Italiana Giovanni Treccani stipulate an agreement for the joint production of print and digital scholastic books, destined for the high school market. The first product of the agreement is the Dizionario della Lingua Italiana 2014 – Treccani / Giunti TVP, with a free app for iOs and Android.
Giunti Editore acquires 30% of Studio Campedelli, a production studio for animated television programs and films with extensive experience in international co-productions, for the creation of content for children and young people that combine the goals of entertainment and education, in an entertainment management perspective. Giunti and Studio Campedelli undertake an important development project in cartoon version of the character Topo Tip, a publishing triumph with over 1.5 million copies sold in Italy and 31 co-editions and 8 million copies sold worldwide. The TV series (52 episodes) debuts on the small screen in late 2014, in Italy on the RAI networks and in Germany on Super RTL, with negotiations underway for the sale of rights to markets around the world.
In May 2014 Giunti Editore and AMAZON announce a collaborative agreement for the launch of an innovative bookstore model in which digital and print books are brought together, and through which Giunti became the exclusive Italian bookstore distributor of the Kindle e-reader.
In September Giunti Editore completes an agreement with DISNEY ITALIA for the acquisition of the company’s book publishing branch in Italy. Starting on October 1, 2014, Giunti becomes the publisher of the extensive catalogue of Disney, Marvel and LucasFilm paper and digital books. With this acquisition it consolidates its leadership in Italy in the sector of publishing for children and young adults, where it’s present with the trademarks Giunti Kids, dedicated to children from 2 to 6, Giunti Junior, specializing in quality fiction by Italian and foreign authors, and Dami and Motta Junior for the early childhood period. Completing the picture are Edizioni del Borgo, which targets the preschool and elementary school markets, and Editoriale Scienza, specializing in popular scientific books for children and young adults.
Also in 2014, Giunti Editore acquires a share in Horizon Unlimited, a company that operates in the sector of digital library lending, through the service of Media Library Online.
In 2016 Giunti takes over the historic publisher Bompiani from Mondadori, following the latter’s acquisition of Rizzoli. This operation consolidates the Group’s focus in the sector of Italian and foreign fiction, thus renewing a long and important tradition in the publisher’s history.
2016 also sees the founding of Giunti EDU. Established by Giunti Scuola and Giunti Psychometrics, it offers services and products for teachers and professionals in the clinical and rehabilitative sector, through lines dedicated to school and health: from difficulty and disturbance assessment to educational and rehabilitative interventions, both in and outside of school.