Can Latin American Publishers Compete with Spain’s Big Three?

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

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By Edward  Nawotka

In today’s lead article, Joaquín Díez-Candedo Flores, Director General of Mexican publishing house Fondo De Cultura Económica, spoke about a “cultural trade imbalance” between the US and Latin America. But an even stronger cultural trade imbalance exists between Spain and Latin America. The Spanish “Big Three” — Planeta, Random House Mondadori, and Santillana — dominate much of the Spanish-language publishing landscape, controlling rights, publication and distribution. Via subsidiaries, they are a significant force in publishing across Latin America. Can smaller start-up companies hope to compete?

Flores believes they can: “Spain, as a single country, is a huge market — but not one bigger than several Latin American countries combined. They are present in Latin America, but through imprints and subsidiaries, which can only be secondary to their core business. Also, they are more than 50% dependent on bestsellers for revenue, so sometimes they tend to be less cautious in their publishing choices, searching for a big hit. This gives us an opportunities.”

What do you think are the opportunities for smaller, independent Latin American publishers? Where can they beat the Big Three at their own game?

Let us know what you think in the comments.

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.