Growing Spanish Market Wakes up U.S. Publishers

May 13, 2002

U.S. publishers are slowly waking up to the fact that Hispanic people like to read. With the 2000 census showing the Hispanic population in the United States ballooning 58 percent in a decade, publishing houses have joined the rest of corporate America in targeting a demographic group whose needs were once met almost exclusively by its own entrepreneurs, reports Reuters.

Publishers have been establishing imprints devoted to the nation’s 35.3 million Hispanics. By some estimates this population has the spending power of more than $500 billion a year. Spanish-language books are now gaining distribution in mainstream bookstores such as Barnes & Noble and Borders.

Hispanic consumers are said to be buying self-help, how-to and spirituality books, along with best-sellers by authors such as Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Isabel Allende. “It’s all been happening in the last year and a half,” says Adriana Lopez, the editor of Criticas, a monthly review of Spanish-language publishing. Launched in March 2001 by Publishers Weekly, Criticas reviews books for a subscriber base of 50,000 librarians, booksellers and readers.

Moderator Comment: What role do demographics play
in magazine and book retailing? Are retailers using consumer insights to full
advantage in the area of publications? [George
Anderson – Moderator

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