Latin America is not a publishing arena in which I profess to be an expert in but after recently attending the London Book Fair, I have certainly grown my knowledge and had my eyes opened further to its vast potential. With Mexico being this year’s LBF Market Focus country it has, quite rightly, captured the spotlight and shone at this year’s event.
As the second largest market within Latin America, following Brazil, Mexico sports a lively and active publishing scene across many categories—in fiction, nonfiction, children’s, and graphic novels.
And after speaking with various publishers at the fair, it’s evident that the Spain book market is becoming ever more receptive to titles from Mexico and other Latin American countries, rather than the traditional one way street of Spanish language titles predominantly going the other way.
Having said this, it is not a marketplace without its challenges. This is especially evident thanks to insufficient government funding allocated to culture. Though there are positive indications: it has been widely reported that the Mexican government has invested heavily in assisting a number of small and mid-size independent publishers to help grow the digital sector. It's a step in the right direction, but the results remain to be seen.
The Spanish language market is, generally speaking, not the easiest one to break into. This highlights the importance of cultivating partnerships with international publishers to find projects to collaborate on. Of course breaking into overseas markets is a lingering puzzle not limited to Latin America or more specifically the Mexican publishing industry. Markets all over the world are continually seeking ways to widen the audience to their works.
Like many territories that are so used to operating predominantly within their own borders there is a constant learning process to undertake regarding how publishers in other countries forge international relations and partnerships. Fortunately, with technology helping to make the world a smaller place, growing numbers of solutions are emerging. Some proactive and forward-thinking publishing houses within Latin America are embracing these in order to forge ahead of their competitors and break down some of these boundaries.