Why is Spain So Slow to Launch E-books?

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

Mondadoris global reach

By Edward Nawotka

Today’s lead story looks at how Spanish publishers Maeva and Random House Mondadori are approaching the mobile and e-book markets in Spain. While both are making progress in the mobile market, the e-book segment appears stalled in beta.

The market for Spanish-language e-books has potential to be huge, as it encompasses both Spain and all of Mexico, Central and Latin America. And it was last June already when Spain’s “Big Three” publishers — Random House Mondadori, Santillana, and Paneta — announced plans to collaborate on a digital distribution company. The company is now scheduled to launch in May.

That said, it makes one wonder why in particular Spain has been so slow to launch e-books. A Brazilian start-up has managed it, so why Spain?  As mentioned in today’s article, e-readers are available, though there has been much Twitter traffic expressing mounting frustration at the lack of books available.

Is this simply a case of companies with a near monopoly — Spain’s “Big Three” account for more than 70% of the market — just biding their time to get it right? Bogged down in bureaucracy? A little of both?

Or is this a case where, because of market dominance, the Big Three have less of an incentive to move quickly to respond to competition? And where are the e-entrepreneurs in Spain, Central and Latin America?

Let us know what you think in the comments below or via Twitter using #ppdiscuss.

About the Author

Edward Nawotka

A widely published critic and essayist, Edward Nawotka serves as a speaker, educator and consultant for institutions and businesses involved in the global publishing and content industries. He was also editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives since the launch of the publication in 2009 until January 2016.