Audiobooks and Open Access in Focus at CONTEC Mexico Conference in June

In News by Hannah Johnson

Reflecting a number of trends in international publishing, the upcoming CONTEC Mexico conference looks at how trends such as audiobooks and open access are playing out in Latin America and across the globe.

Speakers at the 2017 CONTEC Mexico conference in Mexico City. Image: Marife Boix-Garcia

By Hannah Johnson | @hannahsjohnson

In three weeks, the CONTEC Mexico annual conference program (June 18-20) will begin in Mexico City, this year with a focus on new business models in publishing, including open access and subscription services.

This conference, organized by the Frankfurter Buchmesse, explores the latest dynamics and innovations in Latin American and Spanish-language book publishing.

Under the direction of Marifé Boix García, Vice President Business Development Southern Europe & Latin America for the Frankfurter Buchmesse, the 2018 program includes speakers from across Latin America and around the world.

Storytel Expects Audiobooks to Grow in Latin America

With subscription being a main focus of the conference this year, audiobook platform Storytel has signed on as the event’s lead sponsor.

In October 2017, Storytel launched its Spanish-language operations. At the same time, the company released a study which that found the number of Spanish-language audiobooks had grown by 33 percent over the previous 12 months.

Given these positive signs, Storytel has high hopes for its audiobook business in Spanish-language markets.

“We expect more Spanish and Mexican publishers to further join our service in the next few months,” said Helena Gustafsson, Head of Global Publishing at Storytel, in an interview with CONTEC organizers.

Gustafsson will deliver a keynote speech at CONTEC at 10:30 am on June 19 about the boom in audiobook sales that’s going on in many countries, as well as what Storytel predicts for Latin America’s audiobook sector.

Already, there are signs that the book industry in Latin America is embracing the audiobook format. “Large Spanish and Mexican publishers like Penguin Random House, Grupo Planeta, Grupo SM México [and] Oceano México” are already offering Spanish-language audiobooks through Storytel, said Gustafsson. “Midsize publishing houses like Acantilado, Roca Editorial, Edhasa, Editorial Diamante and independents such as Almadia, CIDCLI, Nórdica, Impedimenta or Rey Naranjo” have also signed on.

Growing Importance of Open Access

Another major business model, open access, will feature in several events at CONTEC. Sven Fund, a familiar speaker at CONTEC Mexico and the managing director of Knowledge Unlimited, will deliver a keynote speech (10:30 am on June 20) on how publishers can generate revenue under the open access model.

In an interview with CONTEC organizers, Fund said, “I am convinced that Open Access will continue to grow in importance, and that it will make up about 40-50 percent of all research publications in a few years—from 15-20 percent that it covers today.”

Program Highlights at CONTEC Mexico 2018

June 19:

10:30 — Keynote on audiobooks:

  • Helena Gustafsson, Head of Global Publishing, Storytel

15:00 — Panel on adapting publishing strategies around consumer interest and behavior, with:

  • Marc Santandreu, CEO of Tekstum, Mexico
  • David Peman, Territory Manager of Bookscan Mexico (Nielsen)
  • Myriam Vidriales, Director of Communication and Marketing at Grupo Planeta Mexico
  • Diego Echeverría, Founder and Director of Ink-it, Mexico

June 20:

10:30 — Keynote on open access publishing:

  • Sven Fund, Managing Director of Knowledge Unlimited

11:00 — Panel of university press publishers discussing their open access publishing strategies:

  • Lara Mainville, Director of University of Ottawa Press, Canada
  • Juan Felipe Córdoba, Editorial Director at Universidad del Rosario, Colombia
  • Guillermo Chávez, Technology Specialist at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México

15:00 — Bookselling panel addressing how bookstores can improve their online and digital offering:

  • Rodrigo Pérez Porrúa, Commercial Director of Librerías Porrua; and President of Mexico’s Booksellers Association
  • Maya Flandin, President of librairie Vivement; and Vice President of the Syndicat de la Librairie Française (French Booksellers Association)
  • Sandra Schüssel, Director of MVB Labs division of MVB- Marketing und Verlagsservice des Buchhandels GmbH, Germany

Register for free to this conference, and read more from the speakers and organizers about the issues that will be addressed at the event.

About the Author

Hannah Johnson


Hannah Johnson is the publisher of international book industry magazine Publishing Perspectives, which provides daily information and news about book markets around the world. In addition to building partnerships with international cultural and trade organizations, she works with the Frankfurt Book Fair to organize and support a number of its overseas initiatives. Hannah has also worked as the managing editor for an online media company, The Hooch Life, focused on craft distillers and cocktail experts. Prior to that, she worked as a project manager for the Frankfurt Book Fair’s New York office, managing various business and marketing activities.