New Owner for Santillana

Penguin Random House has signed an agreement with Spanish-language publisher Santillana, which is currently majority-controlled by PRISA, to acquire the trade book business of Santillana Ediciones Generales. Santillana’s publishers operate in Spain, Portugal, and Brazil. The move, according to PRH, will “significantly” increase its presence in Spain and Latin America. Santillana is the only Spanish-language publisher that still has offices in the U.S. and publishes U.S.–based authors. What the impact of this acquisition will be on the trade division of the Miami-based office has not yet been made public. PW was able to obtain part of a communication that was sent by Grupo Santillana’s CEO, Miguel Angel Cayuela: “This decision has not been easy for us, as it requires us to be separated from a very important part of our company… we live in changing times in the world of education and publishing. Times that demand that we be prepared to take on new challenges and combat doubts with certainty.”

LéaLA Returns in 2015

In October of last year, LéaLA, the largest Spanish-language book fair in the U.S., announced that it was canceling the 2014 edition of the Los Angeles–based fair. Lack of funds and changes in the administration in Mexico were cited as the reason for taking the fair from an annual to a biannual fair. Many feared that it was the end of LéaLA but the organizers, the University of Guadalajara Foundation USA and the Guadalajara International Book Fair (FIL), have made good on their promise. In March of this year it was announced that LéaLA will be held in Los Angeles on May 15–17 of 2015. “Previously an annual book fair, last year it was decided to make LéaLA a biannual fair and this scared many in the industry but I think both publishers and the public will be pleased with what we have in store for 2015,” commented Marisol Schulz, director of LéaLA and director of the Guadalajara International Book Fair FIL.

Building on its record attendance of over 85,000 people in 2013, the fourth edition is expecting to exceed those numbers. As in previous years, it will be held at the Los Angeles Convention Center. For 2015, the fair is looking to include a greater number of Latino writers who publish in English and to duplicate the success of the children’s area.

Océano Moves to IPG

Grupo Océano, one of the largest book publishers in Mexico, switched U.S. distributors in March, moving from Bookmasters to Independent Publishers Group (IPG). Children’s titles under the imprint Océano Travesía will continue to be distributed by Lectorum Publications Inc. In mid-March, IPG started with about 100 Spanish-language backlist titles and this fall it will begin offering some new titles, including ones from Océano’s new fiction imprints. Océano is best known for its nonfiction books and authors such as Jorge Bucay, Walter Riso, John Gray, Robert Greene, and their collection of cookbooks. Among its imprints is a science fiction series that includes books by George R.R. Martin as well as a new literary series, Hotel de las letras (Hotel of the Letters), which includes a romance novel written by a man—Brazilian Marcal Aquino.

Erik Riesenberg Joins PromoLatino

Erik Riesenberg has joined the marketing and communications agency PromoLatino Inc. as v-p. Most recently, Riesenberg was the associate publisher and director of international marketing and sales for Penguin Random House; he has been in the publishing industry for over 15 years in a variety of editorial, marketing, and sales positions. At PromoLatino, Riesenberg will be responsible for business development and project management. “I am very excited to be joining PromoLatino,” said Riesenberg. “I look forward to using my experience and contacts in the Hispanic entertainment industry to help clients reach their full potential in that marketplace.” PromoLatino is a full-service agency, with expertise in the Hispanic audience and extensive experience in the book publishing industry. “We are thrilled to have Erik as part of our agency. His skills and depth of knowledge about this market is a true asset to our team,” added Leylha Ahuile, president and founder.

Premio Alfaguara 2014

The recipient of the Premio Alfaguara 2014 (Alfaguara novel prize) was announced on March 20 in Madrid. This year’s recipient of the prestigious literary award is Jorge Franco of Colombia. El mundo de afuera (The World from Outside) was chosen from 872 manuscripts, the most ever submitted in the history of the award— with 37 manuscripts originating from the U.S. Franco will receive $175,000 along with the publication and distribution of the novel in the 19 countries where Spanish is spoken. The novel is set in Medellin, Colombia, and is described as a brief and, to a certain degree, simple novel about love and death. Alfaguara is the literary imprint of Grupo Santillana.

Open Road Releases Spanish Titles

Open Road Español in partnership with Ciudad de Libros unveiled its launch catalogue of Spanish-language e-books last month. The new venture, Ciudad de Libros/Open Road Español, released around the world its first 40 e-books in Spanish in late March. An additional 200 titles will be published throughout 2014. Titles range from original works in Spanish to translations from English-language writers such as William Styron, Erskine Caldwell, Philippa Carr, Ellery Queen and Harold Robbins. The launch is being backed by marketing efforts by Ciudad de Libros in Spain and Latin America and by Open Road in the U.S., Canada and the rest of the world. In addition to social media campaigns, the company plans co-promotions with Spanish lifestyle sites; outreach to Spanish–speaking communities in bookstores, libraries, community centers; bilingual e-book gifting promotions; and targeted advertising to the trade and consumers. Jane Friedman, cofounder and CEO of Open Road said: “We are strong believers in the power of the Spanish-language market and are excited to unveil our initial list and connect our authors with Spanish readers across the world.”