Matchmaking for Publishers and Distributors

Several organizations in Spain have launched the Publishing Distribution Platform (PDP), a website intended to help match publishers and distributors. The project is run by the Madrid-based International Publishing Distribution Association (IPDA), in collaboration with Federación de Asociaciones Nacionales de Distribuidores de Ediciones. PDP aims to help foster greater collaboration among the international publishing community and offers two online databases: one for publishers to search for distributors for their books in foreign countries, and one for distributors to search for clients overseas. The website is in English so as to appeal to the widest possible audience. At present, the databases currently have only a handful of listings but will build up over time, and the IPDA is encouraging publishers and distributors to add their information.

IPDA has become more active in recent years and has run several high-profile events in Europe focused on distribution, including Readmagine, an annual conference about the future of books in Madrid, and the International Publishing Distribution Forum during the Frankfurt Book Fair.

Argentina’s Newest Publishing House

Publishing industry veteran Trini Vegara has launched Trini Vegara Ediciones, a publishing house focusing on genre fiction. Vegara was the longtime force behind Vegara & Riba Editoras, a leading publisher in Latin America, but sold her shares several years ago. Prior to launching Trini Vegara Ediciones, Vegara had been running publishing courses in Buenos Aires.

Initially, Trini Vegara Ediciones will have two imprints: Motus, focused on thrillers, and Gamon, focused on fantasy books. The press will offer titles by Spanish-language writers as well as translations. Among the first being published this spring are several by Americans, including Miracle Creek by Angie Kim and Line of Sight by James Queally.

In a recent interview published by Buenos Aires–based literary consultancy Proyecto451, Vegara reflected on the current state of the industry and noted that with much of the international book trade shut down, publishers will be dependent on local resources. “What we see as a result of the pandemic is also going to happen in the economy: we have to take care of ourselves and be self-sufficient,” she said, adding that one can no longer rely on printing and importing books from abroad. “So maybe the future of books is going to be where there is a printing industry. Instead of sending a ship or a plane, we have to print locally.”

Vegara added that the growth of online book sales is what will enable startup companies like her own to compete against conglomerates. “Digital democratizes,” she said. “One of the most difficult fights against the big groups was for counter space in bookstores, which was—or is—crowded. But with digital there is no physical restriction.”

Fortunately for smaller publishers, online sales boomed in Argentina last year, growing 124%, according to the Argentine Chamber of Electronic Commerce.

Denmark’s Podimo Focuses on Latin America

One of the fastest-growing audiobook companies in the world is Podimo. Based in Denmark and cofounded by Morten Strunge, who also cofounded Mofibo, an audiobook company subsequently sold to Storytel, Podimo focuses on short-form fiction and podcasts and offers a freemium subscription model and more than 600 original productions. The company was founded in 2019 and has since raised some €26 million, including an €11.2 million round of financing announced in February.

Podimo started in Denmark and Germany, but what makes it different from other audiobook companies is its aggressive growth in the Spanish-language market. At the start of the year, it began a Spanish-language version of its app aimed at Latin American audiences, highlighting local podcasts and offering original content from notable authors.