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In Spain, Two Special Alliances Form to Tackle E-Books Head On

By Emily Williams

In Spain, a pair of intriguing publishing alliances promises to bring unique digital content to Spanish readers.

The first is ​​​​​​​​​​​​Unebook, a digital platform created by 62 of Spain’s university presses to digitize and sell their content.  With the help of digital distributor Publidisa , the group has created a direct-to-consumer website www.unebook.es where titles from the participating publishers are offered for sale in PDF format with Adobe DRM; Publidisa is also distributing the titles to mainstream online booksellers including Casa del Libro .

Meanwhile, up in Galicia, ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​the Consejo de Cultura Gallega (Galician Culture Council) announced the formation of a new “cluster” that will bring together the area’s publishers, distributors, and booksellers in order to “respond to the e-book threat” — as the cluster’s new president, Alfonso García Sanmartín, described it. In Galicia 98% percent of the population speaks gallego, one of Spain’s four official languages (usually in addition to fluent Spanish), which has given rise to a regional publishing industry to serve readers in both languages.  While García Sanmartín asserts that the publishers in Galicia who have e-books on offer have sold no more than 30 copies a year, and that the digital future “is likely to arrive much more slowly than what has been predicted”, the cluster nonetheless hopes to create a common strategy to help all of its members — the group is firm in its desire to maintain the traditional publisher-distributor-bookseller value chain — weather the disruption brought about by technological changes to the industry.

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One Comment

  1. Posted June 14, 2011 at 3:35 am | Permalink

    Ebooks are evolving. As technology develops, ebooks may contain new features. For example, a book of recipes may contain a recipe calculator to figure how much maple syrup is needed to bake 200 cookies. An ebook that prepares you for the GRE could include an interactive test. An ebook about politics might allow you to click a link and register to vote, or send an email to a Congressman that tells him he is not a good environmental steward. Ebooks, with their capacity for storage, encourage the publishing of books with many pages, books that might be too expensive to produce (and purchase) in paperback. Ebooks allow publishers to publish (and readers to read) works by a larger number of authors, and works on a wider variety of topics. Critics of traditional book publishing stated that economic pressures have reduced and limited the number of authors and topics that traditional publishers will now produce.

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