By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson
Another Addition in Spanish-Language ContentIn our report on Tuesday on the strong revenues of Copenhagen’s Lindhardt & Ringhof and its digital division Saga Egmont, we had the Lindhardt CEO Lars Boesgaard saying, “We have ambitious plans and expect to continue our impressive growth in 2021, hiring 30 to 40 new colleagues to help expand our business.”
You may also recall our report in late January on the new partnership between Saga Egmont and Bookwire for Spanish-language content, long a key focus of Saga’s expansion into international markets.
Today (February 25), news has arrived that Saga Egmont has acquired the assets of the Mexican audiobook publisher Cuántica Activa Audiolibros.
With its slogan Los Libros también se escuchan (“the books are also heard”), Cuántica Activa Audiolibros’ name translates to Quantum Active Audiobooks and the company was founded in 1993 as Quántica Activa by Jeannette Hamui Picciotto, a devotee of Deepak Chopra. Picciotto used her brand to introduce Chopra and his “abundance” self-help messaging to the Mexican market, not only through audiobooks but also in events popular with followers of motivational speakers.
In 1993, the first of these events reportedly drew some 800 people to hear Chopra in a two-day seminar, said to have been his initial appearance in Mexico. An audiobook, How To Escape From the Prison of the Intellect was given out, and another, How To Create Abundance, was released for sale.
This was followed with a 1994 seminar, “Mind Without Time/Body Without Age,” including the release of an audiobook with the same title. That event, according to Audiolibros’ account, drew 1,200 attendees.
Picciotto had become a national market’s producer of one of the biggest self-help personalities of the era.
Even now, when you drop in on the company’s home page, you’re offered Chopra’s Cómo crear abudancia and fellow motivational celebrity Wayne Dyer’s Tus zonas erroneas (Your Erroneous Zones)—now classics among late-20th-century “personal development” commercial titles.
The company’s catalogue includes what Saga Egmont says is more than 100 titles in Spanish, “with a strong focus” on people whose work captured that now tired term “guru” including Louise Hay, Robin Sharma, Brian Tracy, and—the more recent model—Tim Ferriss.
‘Time To Pass on the Torch’
In a prepared comment for the announcement, Picciotto is quoted, saying, “For three decades I’ve been in this game, so now it’s time to pass on the torch and let someone else publish books in the audio format.
“Saga Egmont is one of the leading publishing houses in the Spanish-language world, so I trust they are more than capable of continuing my work and also expanding it.”
Picciotto says she was attracted to Saga Egmont not least because it’s foundation-owned, and the Egmont Foundation donates to charities for young people.
“When I heard about the Egmont Foundation, it just dawned on me that this is a match made in heaven.
“I’ve dedicated my working life to finding the best self-help, leadership, psychology, mind, body, and soul content from around the world, translate them myself into Spanish, record, and publish them. So to find a publisher who pushes the limits for great digital publishing and also contributes to the well-being of children and young people is quite unique.”
The offices of Saga Spain, where Natalie Uldbjerg Hansen is editor-in-chief, report today that nonfiction is on the rise in the less advanced audio markets in which Saga Egmont is working.
“The themes of Cuántica Activa Audiolibros are a huge attraction for Saga Egmont,” according to the company’s media messaging. The company says it has close to 2,000 audiobooks in Castilian, Neutral Spanish and Catalan in its catalogue.
“We have experienced an increased interest in self-help and self-development as audiobooks,” Hansen says, “and I think the pandemic has only emphasized the need we humans have to constantly evolve and better ourselves.”
For Saga Egmont, its publishing director Lasse Korsemann Horne says, “Our first priority is to reach out to all the authors and agents to discuss how we can grow our collaboration even further.”
Saga Egmont’s work in Spanish also features cooperative arrangements with Nørdica Editorial and Alrevés. As mentioned in our earlier coverage, one of the talking points the company is stressing this year is its plan to publishing work of Jeffrey Archer in new Spanish translations as audiobooks in both Neutral Spanish and Castilian dialects. Another project is a cast recording of Laura Gallego’s trilogy Memorias de Idhún.
The Coronavirus in Mexico
At this writing, the 6:22 a.m. ET (1122 GMT) update of the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center sees 2,069,370 cases in Mexico’s population of 128 million, with 183,692 fatalities.
These numbers put Mexico at 13th in the world for caseload, and at No. 3 in the world for COVID-19 death tolls, behind the United States and Brazil.
Voice of America News has reported Mexico’s receipt of a first shipment of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine, some 200,000 doses arriving February 22.
The Associated Press in Mexico writes, “Mexico received its first shipment of vaccines from Pfizer in mid-December, but turned to Sputnik V in January when other expected vaccine shipments were delayed. Sputnik too arrives later than initially expected. Mexico President Andrés Manuel López Obrador spoke with Russia President Vladimir Putin in late January.”
More from Publishing Perspectives on audiobooks is here, more on ebooks is here, more on the Danish market is here, more on the Mexican market is here, and more on Spanish-language publishing is here.
More from us on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here.