International Insights: Ibero-America

Welcome back to the Alliance of Independent Authors next instalment in the International Insights series hosted by Mark Williams of The New Publishing Requirement This week, Mark discusses Ibero-America.

There are localised stores like Mexicos improbably-named Gandhi. Or the Peru Bookstore, which is considerately in Peru. Take a look, for example, at this BPDigital (Digital Public Library) app which Odilo operates for the National Service of Cultural Heritage in Chile.

Spain comes in at fourth place, as Colombia also has more Spanish-speakers than Spain. Before we plunge in even more, let me attend to the question lots of indies with Spanish-language titles will currently be asking– so why arent we seeing sales in the US?

Notice I didnt say “Latin America”, which is the majority of the Americas from Mexico south, whichs because, believe it or not, the greatest concentration of Spanish-speakers on the planet after Mexico is the USA. Yes, the United States has more Spanish-speakers than Spain!

Bookmate is another worldwide membership service with an eager interest in the area, and has simply reported a 50% increase in Latin America engagement thanks to Covid-19. Another worldwide gamer with a keen interest Ibero-American material is Storytel, now in Spain, Brazil, Mexico and Colombia, with plans to broaden even more. Storytel is audiobook-focussed but likewise offers ebooks, as does Ubook.

Heres where it gets intriguing.

Mark Williams of The New Publishing Standard.

Lots of possible answers to that, obviously, not least the quality of the translation, but leaving aside that the Amazon US store just went bi-lingual in 2017, we initially and primary requirement to have a look at our marketing. Heres the important things: If we drive all our Amazon sales by means of Bookbub and other English-language promotion services, and all our D2C marketing, tweets, Instagrams and Facebook posts and our email shots remain in English … Need I say more?

For our third edition of ALLi International Insights we turn our attention to Ibero-America, which for those who failed geography at school encompasses Spain and Portugal (Iberia) and the Spanish and Portuguese-speaking markets in the Americas.

Not, of course, that Amazon is the only show in town for Spanish-language ebook sales in the USA. That may happen soon– Amazon is known to be getting publishers on board in Brazil and Spain and has an Audible Latino option for the US, there are no devoted Audible shops for any of the Spanish or Portuguese-speaking nations.

Which is why we might wish to have a look at the regional players.

Apple Books is offered not simply in US, Spain, Brazil and Mexico however also in Portugal, Argentina, Colombia, Paraguay, Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Venezuela, Chile, Panama, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Dominican Republic. For factors unidentified Apple Books only offers public domain titles in Uruguay. Google Play Books matches all those and covers Uruguay too! Kobo is a variety. Devoted operations in United States, Spain, Portugal, Brazil and Mexico and for all over else on the planet (other than Cuba, Syria, Iran, North Korea and Crimea region) the US store will enable purchases without surcharges, but at United States costs, so no space for indies to play.

And then there are membership services like Argentina-based Bidi and Leamos, and Spain-based 24Symbols, and Bookmate and Scribd. Scribd introduced a dedicated Mexico shop in 2019 and if youre questioning why readers would go to Scribd rather than Amazons Kindle Unlimited, think about that Scribd MX attracted big publishers like Planeta, Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial, Anagrama, Sexto Piso and El Colegio de México. That in itself is important suggestion that while “Big Pub” eschews membership in the Anglophone markets, in other parts of the world its a various story.

The US Kindle shop is notionally available across Ibero-America, however outside the official Kindle stores (Mexico, Brazil and Spain) a $2 surcharge is normally levied on global sales via the US store, suggesting booklovers outside these countries are most likely to gravitate to other players.


United States and UK book fairs dont come anywhere near. Its a similar story throughout Ibero-America. The greatest cultural event in Chile is a book fair. Oh, and in Peru, Paraguay, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Panama, Bolivia, Guatemala … Perus La Paz International Book Fair saw 590,000 visitors spend $6 million in 2015. 605,000 participated in Colombias Bogota International Book Fair in 2015. Argentina? Try 1.2 million. Thats 1.2 million visitors every year, and the only reason theres not more is that the venue can not fit anymore visitors in. No time at all here to mention the Mexico Childrens Book Fair that drew in over a half million visitors, or the better know Guadalajara Book Fair in Mexico, which pulls in over 800,000 visitors. Even tiny Panama draws in 100,000 visitors a time to its international book fair. This year the Panama occasion will be online, and the very same for numerous others.

Portugal naturally is on almost no-ones list as a priority book market, however we might desire to reconsider. The Lisbon Book Fair is among the largest book events in Europe. In 2018, for example, over a half million booklovers invested $5.6 million at the yearly event. Spain? You might desire to be sitting down for this. The Madrid Book Fair is not just the biggest book event in Europe however one of the largest worldwide. In 2019, it drew in 2.3 million visitors that invested $11.4 million and took away 550,000 books. And yes, thats $670,588 each day being invested at a book fair in Spain.

If youve never ever heard of Ubook, take that as a lesson in not developing our international techniques based on what happens where we are. Ubook is without a doubt the biggest audiobook operator (likewise provides ebooks) in Brazil and throughout the Spanish-speaking Americas– attempt Brazil, Argentina, Colombia. Chile, Argentina, Peru, Paraguay, Uruguay, Panama, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Spain and Portugal (in addition to snaking its arms out internationally to Germany, UK, Canada, Ghana, Papua New Guinea and Jamaica!).

Brazils São Paulo Biennial has actually been cancelled this year thanks to the pandemic, but the last occasion was considered a dissatisfaction when “only” 633,000 individuals ended up over ten days. And yes, that is 63,300 individuals a day going to a book fair in Brazil.

And then theres Spain and Portugal.

Print as needed (POD)? Well, Ingram and KDP print will handle Portuguese-language and spanish titles, but shipped from the United States or EU. To get meaningful POD try Podiprint, which currently offers POD distribution across Spain, Portugal, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador and Uruguay.

The worldwide book market. Its a lot bigger than we believe.

The Lisbon Book Fair is one of the biggest book events in Europe. The Madrid Book Fair is not just the largest book occasion in Europe however one of the biggest in the world. In 2019, it drew in 2.3 million visitors that spent $11.4 million and took away 550,000 books. And yes, thats $670,588 per day being spent at a book fair in Spain.

Reading the trade journals you could be forgiven for believing couple of individuals in this part of the world actual read, but as we checked out in previous ALLi International Insights, B&M store sales numbers are typically simply part of the photo.

Let me end, though with tiny Cuba, the politically separated Caribbean island that is a sanctuary for booklovers. The Havana International Book Fair starts in the capital however then spreads throughout the country and lasts full month. 1 million visitors is not uncommon, but in 2018 the event set a brand-new record with 2.1 million visitors who purchased 1.3 million books.

1 million visitors is not unusual, but in 2018 the event set a brand-new record with 2.1 million visitors who purchased 1.3 million books.

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