Alex Correa, CEO of Lectorum, the largest independent distributor of Spanish-language books in the U.S., says the demand for Spanish-language titles continues to grow, noting Lectorum’s 2023 print sales were up 7% over 2022, with e-books up 15% over the previous year.

“We’re seeing more and more interest from middle and high schools, especially for graphic novels,” Correa notes. Indeed, two of the company’s bestselling titles of 2023 were graphic novels: El clon de Dani by Kristin Gudsnuck, the Spanish translation of Making Friends, published by Editorial Maeva; and Heartstopper 5, the Spanish translation of the book of the same name by Alice Oseman, published by V&R.

Sales to school and public libraries are central to Lectorum’s business, and many of Correa’s direct sales to librarians take place in Mexico, at the Guadalajara International Book Fair (FIL). The fair, which is held annually in late November and early December, attracts U.S. librarians looking to buy books they cannot source at home and supports their attendance through its Free Pass travel program, run in conjunction with the American Library Association.

In 2023, 120 U.S. librarians traveled to Guadalajara for the fair. That’s down from prepandemic levels, when FIL often drew more than 200 librarians, but a solid showing. In 2023, Lectorum worked directly with 40 attending librarians, helping them navigate the fair and source books.

However, despite the growing demand for Spanish-language books from readers and interest from U.S. librarians, pressure on school library budgets remains the biggest obstacle for Lectorum. “This will be felt throughout 2024,” Correa says.