Why Selling eBooks in Spanish in the U.S. and How to Make it Happen in 8 Months

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Passion, hard work, team spirit, international partnerships with publishers from huge to tiny, thousands of miles flown, and many jet-lag nights and day-dreaming days in different time zones had a lot to do with the launch of NOOKbooks en español in November 2010.

The basis and the aim of the project were at home. According to the US Census Bureau, Latinos are more than 18% of the US population. The first US minority is the second Hispanic population in the world, outnumbered only by Mexico’s. 35 M of US Latinos 5 and older (76%) spoke Spanish at home in 2008. According to PEW Hispanic, 54% of Latinos own a laptop (55% of the total population does), 48 % of Latinos go online wirelessly(47% of the total population does), and 78% of Latinos use a cell phone.

You have probably heard some of these figures before (I plan to present a few more too) and have also heard how publishing in Spanish has mostly failed in the US. Which is true for publishing that aimed at Latinos who have little resources and time to spend reading. US Publishing still owes itself a maybe uncomfortable conversation about how it approached US Latinos. But I don’t want to go there. Instead, I want to stress the success and profitability of print imports that have beaten most local attempts in spite of the high cost of bringing here books originally priced in Euros months after being released in other markets and brought online abroad by many people here.

Even more than that, I want to stress the huge potential to which this points:

A US eBook market where sales grow every month + Many U.S. Latinos with access to technology + Few eBooks in Spanish = We need to bring more digital content in Spanish from all over the world to the US market

We did it. And it went well. And many Latinos have gotten and loved their Nooks and their NOOKBooks. And it goes better every week and month since it started. And there is much more coming, in Spanish and in other languages. Which is good both for this multilingual, diverse country, and for publishers creating digital content all over the world, even in places where it is very hard for them to find an audience with access to the technology and the resources that e-reading requires. There is an avid US audience for them. Digital books are opening boundaries that seemed too far away and too expensive to open before. This is great, and we don’t hear enough about it the digital publishing world. I want to shout it out.

  • Ingram Content Group
  • Qualcomm
  • codeMantra
  • Impelsys Inc.
  • Aptara
  • Bowker
  • Connotate
  • HP
  • Jouve North America
  • LibreDigital
  • Malloy
  • MarkLogic
  • Random House, Inc.
  • SPi Global
  • Sterling Commerce
  • Baker & Taylor
  • The BookMasters Group
  • Constellation
  • Jacquette Consulting
  • Mashery
  • Silverchair
  • Wolfram
  • Smashwords, Inc.

For information on exhibition and sponsorship opportunities at the conference, contact Sharon Cordesse at scordesse@oreilly.com

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