Spain’s Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial and Canada’s Wattpad Strike Rights Deal

In News by Porter Anderson

PRH Grupo Editorial gets translation rights to English-language titles from Wattpad Books in the deal, comprising a world Spanish exclusive for Grupo Editorial.

Reading on August 9 in Barcelona, where Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial is based. The majority of the Wattpad platform user base is young, female, and accesses the content on a mobile device. Image – iStockphoto: Irene Sedano

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

‘A Strong Pool of Diverse New Voices’
In a statement from Barcelona this morning (August 27), Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial has described a new partnership with Toronto-based Wattpad, establishing an imprint to publish Spanish-language Wattpad stories in Spain and in other Spanish-language markets.

The deal will also see Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial granted translation rights to English-language titles from Wattpad Books, Wattpad’s publishing division headed by Ashleigh Gardner.

The imprint at PRH Grupo Editorial housing the Wattpad work is to be named—with formidable logic—”Wattpad.”

The first fruits of the new program are to be seen quickly, a release being planned for September 17 for the first part of Alex Mirez’s Perfectos Mentirosos (Perfect Liars), a work that at this writing has 47.1 million reads on the platform and Wattpad cover art credited to the platform’s @austrova.

The book’s plot involves a college student, Jude, working on a plan to expose the “darkest and most wicked secrets” of three “cruel rich-kid” campus swells. This, of course, is in line with the bad-boy material that seems to captivate so many readers in the Wattpad universe.

Also planned are Mi Estúpido Niñero (My Stupid Babysitter), which today has 69 million reads and is by Veronica Barsotti, who operates as @blue_woods on the platform. In this one, the male Tyler Harrison is the 19-year-old babysitter of the 17-year-old female protagonist.

That book and a second volume of those wealthy bad-boy perfectos mentirosos on campus are anticipated for November releases.

In media messaging this morning, Wattpad’s Spanish-language community is reported to be the second largest linguistic group on the international platform after English, and some of the site’s eye-watering numbers have accrued to content there in Spanish.

For example, there’s a series called “The Culpables” by @MercedesRonn includes titles translating to My Fault and Our Fault. According to Wattpad’s information, that “saga” already has been published by Penguin Random House in Mexico, Argentina, Peru, Spain, and Colombia. A French translation is called À Contresens. The Ronn books are reported to have sold more than 100,000 units, something the platform’s offices, of course, say indicates how well platform readers convert to book buyers.

Wattpad has more than 11 million users across Spanish-speaking countries, Toronto reports, spending more than 1.2 billion minutes on Wattpad each month, reading millions of stories written in Spanish.

Translation Rights From the Platform

Walking and reading in Barcelona on August 9. Image – iStockphoto: Irene Sedona

Publishing Perspectives readers will remember that this is not the first time Wattpad Books has entered a deal with Penguin Random House. As we reported a year ago this month, Penguin Random House UK in London announced that it would publish the first six titles of the then-new Wattpad Books line under the PRH Children’s division.

At this point, the Wattpad universe of active users is said to number 80 million folks worldwide. And, of course, Wattpad Studios has become a major, expansive program for words-to-screen development of much-read content from the platform, with the newer Wattpad Books following along with its own deals, such as the one announced today.

Aron Levitz

Aron Levitz, who heads up Wattpad Studios, in a prepared comment, says “Spanish-language readers and writers are among the most passionate and engaged on Wattpad.”

He says he sees the new PRH Grupo Editorial deal, he says, as a chance “to bring the creativity and diversity we see in the Spanish-language Wattpad community to new readers everywhere.”

Gemma Xiol Català

And speaking for Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial, Gemma Xiol Català—the literary director for content for kids, youth, and comics at the house—refers to the arrangement as a “strategic partnership.

“Wattpad is the world’s leading social storytelling platform,” Xiol says, “and partnering with them gives us access to a strong pool of diverse new voices in the Spanish language.”

Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial was established in the summer of 2013 and exports and distributes, its offices say, to more than 45 markets in Latin America, Asia, Europe, and North America.

Its output is some 1,700 new titles per year.

Unfortunately, Spain is struggling with its renewed coronavirus COVID-19 outbreaks. Cristina Gallardo and Carlo Martuscelli report for Politico that on Tuesday (August 25), the market had 2,415 new cases, and “The country now has Europe’s highest incidence” of the pathogen, “with 173 positives per 100,000 inhabitants in the last two weeks.”

In its 9:28 a.m. ET update (1328 GMT), the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center is positioning Spain at the ninth market in the world for caseloads, with 419,849 infections and 28,971 fatalities today (August 27) reporting 326,612 cases in its 6:27 a.m. ET update (1027 GMT) and 28,581 deaths in a population of 47 million.

In Barcelona on August 9. Image – iStockphoto: Irene Sedona

More from Publishing Perspectives on Penguin Random House is here, more from us on Wattpad is here, more on the Spanish market is here, and on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here and at the CORONAVIRUS tab at the top of each page of our site.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.