This Italian Bookseller Offers Books In Exchange For An Hour Without A Smartphone

He aspires to reconcile the younger generation with the pleasures of reading.

Sabino Scianatico has been the proud owner of the Barium bookshop in Bari, Puglia, Italy, for more than twenty years. He specializes in old and valuable books. The 18,000 texts on sale in his shop, therefore, attract a scholarly audience and may seem a little austere or inaccessible to others who are less familiar with reading. 

To renew his audience and attract younger customers to his bookstore, he had to be ingenious. This Italian bookseller has therefore decided to arouse the curiosity of the young generation of Bari with a sign at the entrance of his shop.


"The first students who enter the Barium library will be able to get the book of their choice. The only commitment is to read it by turning off your phone for one hour a day."

The concept is simple and the agreement is clear: anyone who leaves their phone in their pocket can take the book home free of charge. This way, he hopes to encourage a "serene and adventurous" reading to rekindle this pleasure.

For Sabino Scianatico, the younger generation is receptive to this kind of initiative in its own way. But for that, young people "need to be intrigued and teased," he told La Repubblica.


"This is a challenge that is worth taking up. Smartphones destroy culture," he regrets. And the seventy-six-year-old seems to have hit the nail on the head. Since June, his bookstore has been invaded by very young people, thanks in particular to the city's schools that have taken over the initiative.

By Manon Marcillat, published on 14/08/2019


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