Digital Only Book Publishing Springs up in Mexico

Expert publishing blog opinions are solely those of the blogger and not necessarily endorsed by DBW.

Even in nascent ebook markets, entrepreneurs are starting to go after the opportunity of ebooks.

Take Mexico, where publishers I spoke with last week at the Guadalajara International Book Fair estimate that ebooks represented about 3% to 5% of the market — very much like the U.S. four or five years ago.

Yet, the growth of ebooks in Mexico — and around the world — has spurred the launch of Editorial Ink, a Spanish-language enhanced ebook publisher. I sat on a panel with the founder, Diego Echeverria, where he delivered a presentation that would have fit in perfectly at The first Digital Book World four years ago about how he launched his company, how he built, marketed and sold ebooks, the uphill battles in convincing authors and gaining readers and an audience. In fact, the business reminded me somewhat of Open Road Media, the U.S.-based digital publishing start-up.

I spoke with Echeverria after his presentation and then later at a cocktail party* that evening. He has the same energy and optimism as many digital publishers I’ve met over the past several years and the fact that the ebook market in Mexico and in much of the Spanish-speaking world hasn’t quite developed yet doesn’t faze him. He’s a believer.


Learn more about the future of ebooks and digital publishing at Digital Book World 2014.


Here’s a look inside his operation, which has published about 100 enhanced ebooks so far:

Jeremy Greenfield: Tell me about the launch of your business.

Diego Echeverria: The project first started three years ago, when we realized that there was a potential market of ebook readers that were eager to have access to high quality publications by Mexican and Latin American authors. Editorial Ink was launched in November 2012. We have put together an interesting catalog, that included internationally recognized authors by being able to offer the entire publishing and programing process in our own company.

 

JG: Start-ups like this are risky. How is it being funded?

DE: The partners ourselves provide the company’s funding, and by now, we are also receiving good sales, which have helped.

 

JG: Speaking of, how are sales right now? How do you anticipate growing them in the future?

DE: We have certainly not reached the break-even point, but sales have increased steadily. According to Millward Brown, in their recently released research regarding media consumption in Mexico, during the first trimester of 2013, 4.9 million people own a tablet or e-reader. This represents a 53% increase, compared to the second trimester of 2012. Another revealing piece of information was obtained through a poll carried out during the recent book fair “Feria Internacional del Libro del Palacio de Minería”, which is an important annual event organized in Mexico City, 34% of visitors reported reading ebooks during the last 12 months, according to CNN Mexico there where 153,958 visitors. It is due to this kind of statistical information that we, in Editorial ink, are optimistic and believe that the market has a lot of potential.

 

JG: But because of the way ebooks are distributed, Mexico isn’t the only play you can achieve sales. There are Spanish-speaking readers everywhere. Can you give me a breakdown of where your sales are occurring?

DE: Currently, our sales report shows that the number one market for our publications is Mexico itself, and these sales are made through the Apple iBooks app. Our second market is the U.S., without doubt, and the third place changes from month to month between countries in Central and South America. We have also sold books in countries like Japan, Australia and Russia. This is one of the many advantages of the digital era, global distribution.

 

JG: How many employees do you have now and what are they doing?

DE: In the beginning, to get a group of people that knew how to make quality ebooks and who were able to deliver the content that was being looked for by readers in Spanish was one of the most difficult parts. In Mexico, creating ebooks is very new and neither designers nor programmers are very familiar with the whole process. This is why we decided to create a multidisciplinary group of 15 people, who are constantly studying new trends so that our publications can always be at the same level of any international publishing company.

 

JG: What are your plans for the future? Why do you think this business will be a success?

DE: We plan to keep publishing ebooks at a much faster rate next year, always bearing a lot of importance in quality; in this way we will deliver the content that Spanish speaking readers are looking for. We are certain that marketing plays a very important role so in the near future this will become a milestone in our plans. Finally, we believe that the ebooks market is rapidly growing, with e-readers becoming cheaper every year and the number of ebooks available increasing, it is a natural process; according to PricewaterhouseCoopers, by 2016 the global ebooks market should represent 17.9% [of the entire publishing market] compared with 2011 when it only represented 4.9% — one can say that the trend is very clear. This is why we in Editorial Ink are certain that being a cutting edge publishing company will soon pay off.

* At the cocktail party, I found Echeverria talking shop with Jane Friedman, founder and CEO of Open Road, who was speaking at the conference the following day. It was clear that they were kindred spirits as digital publishing entrepreneurs.


Learn more about the future of ebooks and digital publishing at Digital Book World 2014.


3 thoughts on “Digital Only Book Publishing Springs up in Mexico

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  3. Cheryl

    But what the article doesn’t say is that Mexicans don’t read. Therefore, the percentages quoted involve far fewer individuals than are involved in reading countries. The chances of ebooks ever catching on in countries where the general population doesn’t read is slim. Just because it’s in Spanish, a widely spoken language, doesn’t make every Spanish speaking country ebook-friendly, let alone book friendly. That quote of almost 5 million tablets or e-readers… it’s all tablets. And only because they don’t make minis anymore.

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