When a publisher works against his authors…
11September 2001 – terrorist attack on the Twin Towers, New York.
Autumn 2001 – As a symbolic response to the attack, plans are afoot in the Vatican to canonise Pope Innocent XI, a historic figure in the struggle of the Church against Islam, who was beatified in 1956.
March 2002 – Publication of IMPRIMATUR by Mondadori, publishing house belonging to the famous tycoon Silvio Berlusconi, italian Premier very close to the Vatican. The novel calls the morality of Innocent XI into question, on the basis of documentary evidence. The book reaches 4th place in the best sellers’ list of the Corriere della Sera.
May 2002 – IMPRIMATUR is out of print, yet Mondadori issues a reprint three weeks late, so that the bookshops are left without any copies in stock. Consequently, the book is no longer listed among best-sellers. Meanwhile Il Giornale, a newspaper belonging to Berlusconi publishes a violent attack on the authors. Subsequent editions also appear extremely late. In the end, no further reprints are published.
September 2002 – The parish priest of Castelgandolfo, Don Giorgio Marchiori, a friend of the authors, who is indirectly referred to in the novel, is regarded – incorrectly – as being among its sources and is suddenly transferred to Romania by his superiors. He has never served abroad and speaks not a word of Romanian.
March 2003 – Mondadori presents the authors with statements of IMPRIMATUR’s sales: Monaldi & Sorti protest that the figures contain too many anomalies and, threatening a lawsuit, demand termination of the contract. Mondadori accepts at once. Since that time, the book has disappeared from the Italian market.
April 2003 – The canonisation of Pope Innocent XI, the Pope called into question by IMPRIMATUR, does not take place. Instead, the obscure Capuchin friar Marco d’Aviano, the faithful factotum of Innocent XI, is beatified. The media, however, make no mention of Pope Innocent.
Autumn 2003 – Readers’ comments begin to appear on the IBS.it and BOL.it websites – Italy’s main book sites – discussing the strange disappearance of IMPRIMATUR.
2002/2005 – Meanwhile, IMPRIMATUR is published in 20 languages and 45 countries, regularly scoring on best-sellers’ listings. Only in Italy is it still impossible to find it. A number of articles and programmes about the case appear on TV channels outside Italy and in the foreign press. In Italy, however, the media remain completely silent. IBS deletes the page containing readers’ comments on the boycott of IMPRIMATUR.
Spring 2006 – BOL (which, like Mondadori and Il Giornale, belongs to Berlusconi) publishes the anonymous comment of a representative of Mondadori, denying the existence of any boycott by the publisher. A number of readers reply to the editors of BOL, but none of these replies are published.
August 2006 – The Dutch publisher De Bijzige Bij, finally publishes a new edition of IMPRIMATUR which, at the authors’ request, is obtainable only via Internet and at Italian bookshops abroad.
September 2006 – BOL, on learning of the new Italian edition of IMPRIMATUR, and above all the existence of our website, resigns itself to publishing a new, positive critical article on IMPRIMATUR. BOL still, however, fails to publish a number of readers’ replies to the Mondadori subsidiary’s article.
October 2006 – When the IMPRIMATUR case circulates among Italian and foreign publishers at the Frankfurt Book Fair, BOL removes the page of comments on IMPRIMATUR from its website!