Mondadori Group admitted to webnovel segment: a new frontier in the use of editorial content

The Mondadori Group announces that, through Mondadori Libri S.p.A., it has entered a start-up to develop the webnovel market in Europe.

The initiative, which involves an initial investment of € 1.5 million in 2024, and an additional € 1.5 million planned for 2025, stems from an agreement with Bookrepublic, an industrial partner with specific know-how and capable of supporting future operational growth. The company led by Marco Ferrario has been at the forefront of digital publishing in Italy for more than 10 years and has always been attentive to new literary trends.

The deal will come to fruition with the launch by the end of the year of a dedicated proprietary app – to be called Narae. Developed by an in-house team, initially with content in Italian and French, it will gradually expand its reach to encompass other European countries.

Designed to be read on a smartphone screen, webnovels are a form of serialised fiction of a highly innovative nature which, having started with great success in South Korea, has gained growing popularity and a solid fanbase in Japan and China as well. Content takes the form of series – primarily in the romance, fantasy, and crime genres – and is designed to originate and be enjoyed in other formats as well. Webnovels consist of a large number of short episodes, often more than a hundred, and, if successful, they can extend indefinitely.

After a recent launch in the United States and a successful debut in France, webnovels are now ready to conquer Europe, particularly following the global spread of Korean entertainment content in music, film, and comics.

«This investment reaffirms our Group’s willingness to look at what is most innovativein the international publishing environment. As it evolves, the world of webnovels is demonstrating creativity and the ability to feed other media as well, such as cinema, television series, and in many cases even book publishing itself» says Enrico Selva Coddè, CEO of Mondadori Libri.

«Webnovels are a very interesting and avant-garde model of digital publishing: they could be defined as the digital reinterpretation of serialised novels published in newspapers in the 1800s – says Marco Ferrario, CEO of Bookrepublic; and it is not surprising for it now to originate in an Asian country. The content is created specifically to be read on a mobile, borrowing techniques used in the production of video series and providing ways of accessing content that are inspired by gaming. Our challenge will be to find the route into Europe with this model», concludes Ferrario.


Bookrepublic was founded in 2010 by Marco Ferrario together with financial partners Gianluca Andena and Guido Paolo Gamucci (both former Permira partners), Marco Pittini and Guido Carissimo and has always been one of the leading players in the distribution and sale of ebooks and audiobooks in Italy. Over time, Bookrepublic has played a leading role in many digital publishing initiatives, including the organisation of IfBookThen, one of the most successful events in Europe on digital innovation in publishing, and the launch of digital-only brands such as 40K and emma books. In March 2024, the German group Bookwire, European leader in digital distribution, chose Bookrepublic as its Italian partner for its entry into this market.