Amazon’s Pedro Huerta, director of Kindle Content in Spanish for Amazon, talks to Portada about the expansion of Spanish-language titles, growing usage in the U.S., Mexico and Spain, and its latest Indie Literary Prize.
Amazon recently announced its second annual Indie Literary Prize for Spanish-Language Authors. Authors can upload their previously unpublished work to the Kindle Direct Publishing Platform, and, after August 31, five finalists plus a grand winner will be chosen. The contest is another step in Amazon’s continuing expansion for Spanish-language readers in the United States, Spain, Mexico and Latin America.
“Over the past 18 months, there has been an extreme acceleration of self-published content in our store in Spanish. Many people are not only reading but also writing in Spanish,” says Pedro Huerta, director of Kindle Content in Spanish for Amazon.
When Huerta spoke to Portada in January, 2014, Amazon’s Tienda Kindle had 70,000 Spanish-language titles, already a significant amount. Today, according to Huerta, there are more than 120,000. More important, he says, is Amazon’s ability to make any book digitally published in Spanish available in Spain, the United States, Mexico and Latin America.
The online store also has increased its promotions to Spanish-language readers, offering them two or three daily deals. “All of Amazon’s promotional and marketing capabilities we are now applying for Spanish-language books as well as for English-language books,” Huerta says.
All of Amazon’s promotional and marketing capabilities we are now applying for Spanish-language books.
While technology-loving U.S. Hispanics represent the largest and fastest-growing market for Tienda Kindle, sales in Mexico have been growing significantly. Amazon recently launched Kindle Unlimited in Spain and Mexico; the service provides unlimited access to 75,000 titles in all languages for a set monthly fee. Huerta says that 30,000 of the titles available with the Unlimited service are in Spanish.
Amazon has found that, aside from language preferences, there is little difference in reader tastes or trends in the different Spanish-language markets and the overall U.S. market: romance and general fiction rule.
Amazon has segmented its customer base according to preferred language, in addition to its other sophisticated mining techniques, so, for example, someone who prefers to read in Spanish will see the list of the top 100 Spanish-language titles, rather than the top 100 overall titles translated to Spanish.
Huerta explains, a bit cagily, “We apply the technology that Amazon has developed for recommendations to create similar content for Spanish readers, and we can delight them with specific Spanish content. We are manually guiding the technology.”
Amazon also creates promotions for different regions based on specific events. For example, when Deepak Chopra appeared in Mexico recently, Tienda Kindle had a special promotion for his books.
Aside from language preferences, there is little difference in reader tastes or trends in the different Spanish-language markets and the overall U.S. market.
Promoting Independent Authors
There has been tremendous growth in the number of authors self-publishing on the Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) platform; Huerta says that 30 percent of the 100 top bestsellers in Spanish are self-published. The Indie Literary Prize for Spanish-Language Authors is a way to help independent authors get more visibility in Tienda Kindle. The first contest, last year in Spain, drew hundreds of entries.
To enter the contest, authors simply upload their works to Amazon’s KDP, including “concursoindie2015” in the search keywords metadata field. The grand winner’s work will be published in print by La Esfera de los Libros, as well as translated and published in digital, print and audio formats in English by AmazonCrossing, the Amazon Publishing imprint for world literature in translation.
All the novels taking part in the contest will be available in full in the Kindle store. Throughout the contest, entries will be highlighted in various ways. Huerta hopes that the contest will encourage people to publish on the KDP even if they don’t want to be a professional author. He says, “The contest is a great accelerator, but anyone who has a story to tell, especially in the Hispanic population, should think of publishing as a way of delivering a small legacy of your personal story for your family, town or friends.”
Besides you never know what’s going to be the next million-seller. It could be your tia’s memoir.