Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A few days ago, in a comment to How is a publisher, a reader of the blog suggested that publishers speak of Peru, which promised to do so. Then, in a comment to the value of symbolic capital for independent publishers, another reader said that in Peru almost nobody reads and repeated a common misconception and, in my view, unfortunate in Peru: that 'read' is' read books 'and that this amounts to' literature books', sometimes even 'good books for literature'. That reminded me of the post promised that I meet up.Peru is not a country of great publishing tradition. Since the first printing press installed in Lima in 1584 until today have not developed large families of printers or publishers (nor of booksellers and distributors) have formed guilds either publishers or have ever had high levels of export of books, many of key authors of the twentieth century (and earlier centuries) have never been translated, published even in Peru.Not enough space here to explore the reasons for this lack of publishing tradition. But he can score some features of our issue (knowing that everywhere are baked beans, if you, the reader, not what I say Peruvian is familiar, welcome to the club), given that in recent years have appeared a group of publishers willing to create the tradition nonexistent or recover lost tradition (according to some). This phenomenon, which some called mini-publishing boom, has crossed national borders, as written or Patricia Herralde Jorge de Souza, before the books of their own editors.The salient features of the book publishing in Peru are: 1. The disproportion between the publication of literature (especially poetry) and other materials; 2. the large number of newcomers and young authors, 3. scarcity of translations of foreign authors and publications in general; 4. the large number of stamps that disappear before posting the fifth title 5. almost no export of books and of course 6. Editorial concentration in Lima. Earlier, two other salient features were: the low quality of the books published graphic and reduced effort by publishers distributing their books. These two elements have greatly improved, which, coupled with the recent international awards obtained by Peruvian authors as Alonso Cueto (Herralde Winner 2005), Mirko Lauer (Winner Juan Rulfo 2005), Santiago Roncagliolo (Alfaguara Winner 2006), Daniel Alarcón (Finalist PEN / Hemingway 2006), Ricardo Sumalavia (Herralde Finalist 2006), Carlos Calderon-Fajardo (Tusquets Finalist 2006) and Blanca Varela (Reina Sofia Award, 2007), and the string of invitations in honor Fairs Book for Peru (Bogotá 2004, Guadalajara 2005, Santiago de Chile-LIBER 2006 and Barcelona 2007), have been on the books Peruvian cabinet, creating a climate of hope for local publishers. But is hopeful in what sense. What editors look for Peruvians?The natural market a book is its language area. That is, a book published in Spanish, either in Spain or Paraguay-aspires (or should aspire) to be read in all Spanish-speaking countries. But this requires a good distribution and an interesting catalog, seductive (for the first international distributor for local booksellers and then finally to the reader, which is the last to decide). For this it is essential to have some thematic variety (not so many foreign distributors may interest many Peruvian publishers dedicated to publishing the latest generation of Peruvian poets and storytellers). This leads to the problem that I consider central Peruvian publishing system: finance publications.Most Peruvian publishers (who are young and small almost) call themselves 'independent'. Which should mean that they are independent of market requirements, which published his editors what they think best, regardless of sales volume they can get. In Argentina and Mexico, usually independent publishers, to be that luxury, wealthy boys belong to, or are the result of a risky investment by minority, which is successful. In Peru, however, most of these publishers 'independent' rely heavily (often completely) the money to authors who publish. As published authors who can finance the publication of his books, mostly writers (mostly poets), debutantes, young, and settled in Lima or Lima.This does not mean that these publishers to all those who have the money to pay his edition, no editorial boards that select, but rarely does a publisher decide to rescue from oblivion a work or a great book translated into Spanish or pose unprecedented co-publications with editorial foreign, by distribution problems, not otherwise come to Peru. Under these conditions, the absence of any risky investment editor, not particularly interested in exporting it publishes (often the author must provide for the distribution of his books), can not dare to translate and publish foreign, not risk with nonfiction books and therefore does not generate a significant editorial catalog or can live editing so sooner or later, or open a printer that allows you to live, maintaining the prestige imprint (local) achieved, or leave the profession altogether.To change this situation (and this seems a good time to change), the publisher must seek urgent change financier: recourse to savings, bank loans or family or auspices, extend your theme (no sin post cookbooks or architecture, carpentry manuals also much less scientific books), embark on translating and publishing foreign authors (the works of Cervantes and Proust, as well as those of Galilei and Hegel are in the public domain), and tempt the domestic market (currently lacking in bookstores and covered with pirates and old books) and export of books. Only then can we speak of a professional national edition, editors, aware of their role as cultural agents, not lose sight of their role as entrepreneurs.


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