5 Questions for Arantxa Mellado, speaker at BookMachine Barcelona [INTERVIEW]
Arantxa Mellado is our top speaker at BookMachine Barcelona on 3rd July. Amongst other things she is CEO of the Spanish Digital Link and Director of Actualidad Editorial.
Arantxa will be talking about globalisation, and how she thinks that this is the best way to succeed in business in the digital age. We wanted to find out more, ahead of the event.
1) You manage a three-day conference about digital publishing at LIBER (The Spanish Book Fair). In your opinion, what has been the biggest change in this area over the past 3 years?
The first major change in Liber was three years ago, when the “Digital Zone” was included in the book fair, not as a trend but as a genuinely new part of the book industry. Like other Book Fairs, the digital zone is the best place for publishers to learn about new digital services and technologies, from conversion to distribution. And with this new digital content and business came the need to be informed and to ask questions and listen to those who had any experience in digital.
This was the origin of the Liber conference and events, the size and importance of which have been growing ever since. This year the events take a step forward with the presence of European and Latin American speakers.
2) We’ve been reading your blog, Actualidad Editorial. How much of the content is derived from the English-speaking world and how much is generated from the Spanish markets?
Publishing trends are no longer the stuff of a single country; they begin to be as global, as is the Internet. The USA and the UK are the most advanced countries in ebook commerce and Publishing, and what’s happening in these countries will influence the world Publishing industry sooner or later. The price of ebooks, the bookstores problems, the e-commerce, the influence of new technologies, the new business models, the use of metadata, the ebook marketing, the relationships between libraries and publishers… we have almost the same problems here in Spain as they do in the English-speaking countries, the only difference is that they had to confront them earlier in time than us.
The analysis of foreign trends helps me to have a broad view on how the publishing world is moving. This is what I try to transfer to my readers, so more than half of the content of my blog is derived from the English-speaking world.
3) You launched The Spanish Digital Link last October. What is the main aim of this new group?
We like to say that we are globalization advisors, because we advise publishers and indie authors on how to sell their ebooks in other languages and in other countries. We are experts on the Spanish-speaking markets (500 million potential readers!) and our aim is to help our clients throughout the entire export process, from translation to distribution and sales, and even promotion and publicity. So we advise, we give the publishing services needed to sell an ebook in Spanish and in the Spanish countries, and we act as representatives of our clients in these countries.
4) How difficult is it for publishers in the English-speaking world to export their books to the Spanish markets?
To export ebooks to the Spanish-speaking markets is really easy: you just need the rights to sell the works in Spanish and in each country you want to sell them. And the ebooks translated into Spanish, of course. We always advise that publishers translate their books to standard Spanish, for them to be read easily by all the readers in Spanish. Once you have these three items you can become your own digital exporter.
This is the basis, but if you want to succeed you must find the most suitable aggregators, do good work with the metadata in order to be discovered, promote your authors and your publishing brand, and the titles too. And do it all in Spanish. It’s not a big investment if you think about the huge potential these markets have.
5) What can we expect from your talk at BookMachine Barcelona?
Spanish publishers have always exported their paper books to Latin America, their natural market. It’s not a simple process and it’s not available to everyone. And it’s not a cheap one, so much of the paper books are priced too high for Latin American economies.
Digitisation and the Internet have made it easy for everyone —publishers, authors and agents — to export ebooks and reach new countries like the US, with more than 50 million Spanish-speakers. But just as it’s easy to sell in Spanish in the Spanish markets, it’s also easy to reach more countries in more languages. Why not translate from Spanish into English and sell our books around the world?
At BookMachine Barcelona I will highlight the pros and the cons of exports, the best markets and the best ways to succeed.
—We’d like to thank Arantxa for taking the time to answer her questions. If you’d like to hear her talk at BookMachine Barcelona, please sign up here.