The unwillingness of English-speaking readers to engage with fiction in translation has come in for its fair share of criticism over the years, not least from the director of the Edinburgh book festival, Nick Barley, who described the UK’s parochial reading habits as “something of an embarrassment” this summer. Help, however, might be at hand from an unexpected quarter: Amazon published three times more translated fiction in the US this year than its nearest competitor.
“Three times more than the next press. Three times!” Chad Post wrote on Sunday, on the database of American translated fiction that he runs on the University of Rochester’s Three Percent blog. “[Amazon] makes up almost 14% of all the translations included on their own. That’s incredible.”