¿Cómo Se Dice ‘Opportunity’?
Though the Hispanic market may be full of possibility, there also is a bit of a breakdown in communication. More specifically, distribution channels and some retail stores have not yet caught up with the fact that, according to Castillo, there are 50 million Hispanics in the United States representing a 12.4-percent demographic. The African American demographic comes in slightly under at 10.2 percent.
While Castillo says the distribution channels haven’t been a problem for Atria Books’ Latino publications, Wesley says it is the No. 1 challenge for many publishers attempting to reach Hispanics requiring Spanish-language books.
“Distributors carry less than 10,000 Hispanic books compared to 100,000 general market books,” says Wesley. “When trying to sell through distributors, one must deal with them not having [Spanish-speaking] reviewers to review the product. Then we have problems at the book store level, where there are few if any Spanish-reading employees to read and handle Spanish-language books.”
According to Wesley, books for the Spanish market are just not top priority right now.
“There are just so many hurdles to jump over from a systematic point of view,” he says. “Until there are more Spanish-speaking people on staff in libraries, distribution companies and retail, it will be difficult.”
Norris reports, however, that retailers are expanding their Spanish-language sections.
“It is a huge problem for those who speak Spanish to walk into chain stores and find the help they need, but those stores have made a point to employ bilingual individuals where the Hispanic community is large,” says Norris. “For instance, 690 Barnes and Noble stores and 485 Borders stores are projecting to have new or expanded Spanish-language sections to serve this market.”
An Expanding Market
Despite problems in distribution, growth and long-term security are promising in the Hispanic market. Wesley says every year since 2002 demand increases for his business.