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IGOR Libreria, Bologna. An LGBTQ+ sanctuary in the city of the niche

«In Italy, Bologna stands out for its civic sense. It’s the ideal city for a niche, LGBTQ+-themed bookstore like ours». In conversation with IGOR Libreria owners Luca Albertini and Raffaele Pancaldi

Lampoon review: IGOR Libreria, LGBTQ+ bookstore in Bologna

IGOR Libreria, one of the few LGBTQ+ dedicated bookstores in Italy, was founded in 2007 as a branch of Libreria Commissionaria Internazionale, which supplied books and magazines to university libraries. Owners Raffaele Pancaldi and Luca Albertini named it after their Jack Russell, but IGOR is also the acronym for International Gay Oriented References. «In Italy, Bologna stands out for its civic sense –it’s the ideal city for a niche, LGBTQ+themed bookstore like ours», Luca explains. «On the other hand, we have to deal with the competition of other independent stores that offer selected material».

IGOR is not only a sanctuary for the queer community. It is also the local go-to bookstore in the Pratello neighborhood, in the historic center of the city. Many gay, lesbian, trans and gender-fluid readers who come to Bologna, especially from abroad, visit IGOR to take a look at what it offers and give their support. «There is a high request for LGBTQ+ fiction. But, as a specialized bookstore, we also attract students, scholars and researchers who turn to us for non-fiction. Graphic novels and comics are at the center of some of our clients’ attention. While some others look for books on photography and gardening», Luca says.

«At our store we accept commissions. Our clients know that we can provide them with any book on any topic, as well as DVDs, CDs and vinyls. The book that shaped me is Memories of Hadrian by Marguerite Yourcenar. While, two contemporary authors I always suggest are Gilberto Severini and Edmund White. As for cinema, I advise Querelle de Brest by Rainer Werner Fassbinder».

INSIDE IGOR LIBRERIA, BOLOGNA

Covid-19 impact on the publishing industry

In Luca Albertini’s eyes, IGOR is equally popular among all generations, and as much as other bookstores. «Italy has a low percentage of readers. The difference between generations is in how they read. The younger the reader, the more familiar they are with internet and online shopping. Not only because it is convenient, but also because it caters to the I want it all and now philosophy».

IGOR did not bear the impact of internet and online sales unscathed. «Despite resistance from Italian publishers, the Law on Books enacted in March 2020 hinders both online sales and large retailing, by offering the same discounts». In order to cut expenses, Luca and Raffaele moved their bookstore from via San Petronio to the new location in via Santa Croce. A space they share with two other enterprises: an urban nursery garden and an artistic serigraphy and accessory design shop.

IGOR’s succession of metamorphoses to adapt to the market were tailored on the diversification of their offer. They began hosting events in their store and in other venues. The Covid-19 lockdown has put on hold all events. But, at the moment Luca and Raffaele are organizing online meetings with reading group Grulle.

During the quarantine, IGOR only remained inactive for a short time. On March 30th 2020, while still closed, its owners started a free delivery service covering the whole city of Bologna. IGOR was able to reopen its doors on April 14th 2020, although with limited entry. «Even delivering by bike, we’ve been faster than any online sales platform. We revolutionized our daily workflow, and we’re now deciding what our next move will be».

IGOR Libreria

Via Santa Croce 10/ABC, Bologna 

IGOR Libreria is an LGBTQ-oriented bookshop. Igor is the name of the dog of the owners Raffaele Pancaldi and Gianluca Albertini. But, it is also an acronym for International Gay Oriented References. One of the central features the owners always focus on is to make available foreign language books, that would be otherwise difficult to find in any other bookshop. The selection of titles ranges from fiction and non-fiction, comics and graphic novels, DVD, gadgets and magazines, offering a wide information material on LGBTQI themes, from ancient times to nowadays. IGOR Libreria is located inside Senape Vivaio Urbano – a city plant nursery. It hosts meetings, book presentations and theme exhibitions.

The writer does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article.

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check and buy on Prototipo Store
item collections in limited edition
crafted according to our editorial search

Hemp / made in Italy
Lampoon is working to restore
Hemp production in Italy
as hemp is the one and only
natural vegetal fiber sourceable in the country
for more info, please email us at [email protected]

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