Market Focus: Inside the Hispanic Book Market
For HarperCollins' Rayo imprint, this has become an opportunity. "Wal-Mart has supported Spanish-language publishers consistently," Crum says. "In that market, price point is very important because delivering value to the customer is a top priority. Authors who are brand names or celebrities in the Spanish-speaking community, like Isabel Allende, Paulo Coelho, Jorge Ramos and Maria Antonieta Collins, perform very well."
Additionally, author profiles and media coverage on Spanish-language TV stations Univision and Telemundo have been tied closely to traditional bookstore sales in areas with large Hispanic populations, such as Southern California and Texas, and urban markets including Miami and New York, Crum adds.
The Celebrity Advantage
Hispanic celebrities have the same advantages as mainstream personalities—a built-in audience and platform, "except they have the added benefit of also resonating with the largest growing minority in the country," says Raymond Garcia, publisher of the Celebra imprint of the New American Library division of Penguin Group USA, which concentrates on books by Hispanic celebrities, including Soledad O'Brien and Geraldo Rivera.
"An appearance by Oscar de la Hoya at the Pico Rivera Borders store east of Los Angeles drew a major crowd, and more than 500 copies of [his] book ["American Son: My Story"] were sold," notes Crum.
The number of Hispanic celebrities far exceeds those seen on Univision and Telemundo, Garcia says. And Celebra's very existence shows that the mainstream market is embracing Hispanic personalities, just as the Hispanic market embraces mainstream celebrities. (Hispanics are just as likely to embrace Jennifer Lopez as they are Madonna, he says.)
"As the Hispanic market grows, buying power and cultural influence increases," says Garcia. "Hispanics will only become more of a target consumer for any company. … The book publishing industry is no exception."