The first ever "USA Pavilion" contributed to an increase in American publishers' participation at this year's Guadalajara International Book Fair (FIL). The American collective stand was organized by the Combined Book Exhibit that coordinates the presence of U.S. publishers at the main book fairs around the world. In previous years, a handful of U.S. publishers were present in the Rights Center while many exhibited as part of their international division, but this is the first time there is a USA Pavilion at FIL.

PW spoke with Jon Malinowski, president of Combined Book Exhibit, about the growing interest by American companies to attend FIL. “As the book fair has grown, so has the demand by many of our clients that wish to have a presence at FIL. Because of the dates, it made it very challenging for us but now that it was moved to December instead of November, we are able to participate.”

The collective is made up of five booths that were filled to capacity within weeks and Malinowski is already planning for additional space for next year. Some of the publishers that participated include, Simon & Schuster, Balcony 7 (new children's publishers), Franklin Covey, Inner Traditions, University of Wisconsin Press, International Society for Technology in Education, BookExpo America, American Psychological Association, Weldon Owen, and Cinco Puntos Press. In total, there were approximately 500 titles from traditinal publishers and about 200 titles from self-published authors. Palibrio, Author Solution’s Spanish-language arm also participated with over a dozen writers from Spain and Mexico.

In all, almost 100 publishers, distributors, and agents from the U.S. participated at FIL. Many that had their own booth have previously exhibited at FIL, but 75% of those in the U.S. pavilion were at the fair for the first time. Some publishers were at the fair to sell English-language books into Latin America while others focused on selling rights for translation while others were seeking distribution partners for Latin America.

Although not exhibiting, e-book publisher Open Road Media was also participating at FIL. PW sat down with Jane Friedman, cofounder and CEO of Open Road to discuss her participation at the fair as the keynote speaker at the international forum for editors and book professionals. Less than four years ago Open Road launched with nine e-books and now offers over 4,000 titles. Friedman shared her experience in how she grew Open Road from nine e-books when it launched four years ago to publishing 4,000 titles this year. “One of the things I want to share with the editors here is to be prepared because once [growth] happens, it happens. We are talking about another format, but we are still talking about words of an author and it is not about one format or another, it is a combination of both.” This is the first time Friedman has attended FIL and she felt energized by the thousands of consumers making their way through the fair, “the halls smell of books, the Mexican book consumer is alive and well,” added Friedman.