The Latino Market: Tongue Twister
Whisler points out that when people say "digital," they might also be talking about buying a book online. "Amazon has become a favorite," he says. "If you have someone in North Carolina, [that person might not] really have alternatives, but there's a large population in North Carolina."
Being digitally connected doesn't solve everything, though. Kanellos says publishers of books marketed to Latinos face challenges Anglo publishers don't: "There's a backlash against Latino culture in the U.S. In Arizona, our books were taken out of children's hands."
And large publishers face learning curves. "Every mainstream publisher has gone through an evolution if they're doing business with the Latino market," Whisler says. When he was working as a consultant with a publisher in Minnesota, he found that out. "I got a call from a Spanish-language editor, she was Latina. She said, 'This may sound like a dumb question, but are there actually Latinos that write?' She was so isolated up there in Minnesota! I laughed and said yes and they wound up bringing on Latino authors who did very well for them."
And then what?
"Later, they changed their direction."
Well, at least they have company. BB
Liz Spikol is the editor of Curbed Philly and a contributor to Tek Lado and Philadelphia Magazine's The Philly Post. She can be found on Twitter: @lspikol.