A couple of months ago I asked indie mystery authors how they are getting their books translated to Spanish. To my surprise, only a handful of authors were translating their books. I’ll explain why in a moment.
Prosperous Growing Market
US Hispanics represent $1.3 trillion in rapidly growing purchasing power. Average household income is over $50K and growing.
Of the 50 million Hispanics comprising 17% of the US population, 28 million speak fluent Spanish (15 million prefer Spanish to English), and another 13.5 million speak some Spanish.
Here’s more from AOL’s 2010 Hispanic Cyberstudy. US Hispanics are early adaptors of new technology and are heavier users of online networking than non-Hispanics:
The study doesn’t count non-Hispanics in the U.S. who speak and read fluent Spanish. Spanish speaking Latin Americans living in their home countries and residents of Spain aren’t included either.
According to the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Hispanics are 15% of the US labor force and expected to grow to 20% by 2020. US employment has grown by 2% since 2000; Hispanic employment has grown by 16%. Meanwhile US purchasing power has increased by 2.8% on a compound annual growth rate; Hispanic compound annual growth in purchasing power is more than twice as fast at 7.5%.
In Chicago, 2 million Hispanics are an important part of the entrepreneurial economy. Some estimates put average Hispanic household income at over $60K.
Hispanic Market Confuses Hispanics, Too
In the U.S. we have Cuban Americans, Mexican Americans, Spaniards, and Spanish speakers from Latin America. They are culturally diverse and have their own preferences for Spanish idioms. Does Hispanic marketing include all Latinos? Well, no, since Brazilians are Latinos who speak Portuguese.
When I decided to hire a translator for La Rebelión de los Jesuitas, the Spanish version of my English language thriller, I hired a translator in El Salvador, and an editor and proofreader based in the U.S. My college friend, a Bolivian American, will check the manuscript, and a finance colleague, a Chilean American now living in Chile, will simultaneously check it. Finally, a Spaniard living temporarily in Chicago will recheck the final product before the book is released to the Spanish speaking market.
After the book is translated, I’ll hire someone to produce the audio book, and it will probably be a Latino based in Miami.
That’s just the translation part. After the translation is complete, there will be no easy way to reach Hispanic Kindle readers and audiophiles.
Hispanic Readers and Audiophiles: Underserved
Amazon has a platform for Mexico and Spain, but not for Spanish-speaking Latin American countries. My Latin American friends buy Kindle books via their Amazon.com accounts. Readers in Argentina seem to prefer print books, but that may be because they feel there’s no organized e-delivery system for Argentina, or it may be a personal preference.
Publishing Perspectives’ noted director of Spanish Language publishing Jaime de Pablos believes that US Hispanics “may speak and watch TV in Spanish, [but] not all or even many of them read in Spanish.” That doesn’t match my experience, but even if this is correct, that suggests there’s an audio book market.
Unfortunately, if there’s an effective eBook or audio book marketing network servicing Spanish readers, authors and publishers have yet to find it. We’d love more opportunities to promote translated eBooks and audio books.
If you want to market an English Kindle book, there are dozens of web sites and email delivery systems that will alert you to deals. But they have only penetrated the US market. Authors who use these marketing platforms see almost no results in UK and Canada sales.
As far as I and other authors can tell, there are no comparable platforms for Spanish Kindle books.
That is why I got involved as an investor and partner in Portal a Ciberlibros, a tech startup platform to connect publishers and authors of free and discounted Spanish eBooks and audio books to Hispanic readers and audiophiles. Newsletter subscription is free. Authors and publishers can list free, too. We just started, and already the subscription list is growing fast.
Once the subscription list reaches a critical mass, publishers and authors may pay to reach Spanish-speaking consumers.
I’d love to hear your insights, and next year I’ll provide you with our results.
Endnote: For books in English try Book Bub or Kindle Books and Tips. For books in Spanish, visit Portal a Ciberlibros. Find us on twitter @portalciber or https://twitter.com/portalciber We just arrived! Sus amigos de Portal a Ciberlibros