Spanish Publishing Going Digital – At Publishing Perspectives

Publishing Perspectives has an interesting article on the state of digital publishing in the Spanish language world. The article notes that up until now the publishers have been using a form delaying tactics, but now are beginning to embrace the changes. I had no idea that Barnes and Nobrl had a library of 40,000 titles in Spanish (of course, I would need a Nook). But I hope these developments will make it a little easier to get hold of some of the titles at a more reasonable price. Since I don’t have an e-reader, though, it may be cheaper just to buy the paper books. I hope the smaller publishers, too get in on this. I would love to have more access to some of the smaller ones. I also wonder if this will help with the phenomenon where Spanish language writers aren’t published outside their home country (see my comments on it here). It shall be an interesting few years.

Following an initial phase, known in the sector as the Libranda Era, which attempted to slow down changes in the sector by maintaining the current ecosystem in the book world, many book professionals in Spain believe that we will be entering a much more dynamic second phase, one I’ll dub the Internationalization Era. This new era is characterized by increasing interest by the main international players  — Amazon, Google, Apple, Barnes & Noble,, Kobo, Yudu, among other — to enhance their platforms with content in Spanish from Spain and Latin America.

Spanish is the third most spoken language in the world after English and Chinese, and the revenue potential from a market made of 500 million Spanish speakers will not be overlooked. As we all know, the Internet has no frontiers and, therefore, once the English content market consolidates, the main international players will enrich their catalogs with content from other potential markets, especially the Spanish one. Barnes & Noble has already initiated this race towards globalization by aggregating more than 40,000 Spanish titles from various Spanish and Latin American publishers and offering them for sale online — an approach that will soon be imitated by the rest of the international players.

The upcoming academic year (2011-2012) will see the gradual arrival of each of the aforementioned players in the Spanish markets, which will undoubtedly accelerate the digital race. Spanish publishers, booksellers and librarians will have their hand forced and will henceforth need to make strategic decisions in reaction to the arrival of these international competitors.