"In spite of the deep economic crisis, increasing production costs, and distribution difficulties, the number of genre books keeps growing year after year."
That's a conclusion from an excellent study by Literatura Fantástica, a Spanish website specialized in news and reviews of science fiction, fantasy, and horror literature. The study's author, Mariano Villarreal, spends 15 pages analyzing a variety of data that reveals important facts about Spanish genre publishing.
The full report is available as a PDF here:
Of course, it's in Spanish, though the charts and graphs will be clear to anyone with beginner-level language skills. Here are some highlights:
- Typical press runs are 1000 copies for import books, and 700 or less for Spanish authors, in spite of spectacular bestsellers like Harry Potter.
- In 2007, 82,559 ISBN numbers were granted in Spain, and there were 644 genre titles. The number of genre books published each year has grown from 516 in 2005 to 883 in 2009.
- In 2009, 486 books were published by large publishers, 362 by small publishers, and 35 by non-professional publishers. Of those, 378 were fantasy, 160 science fiction, 241 horror, 22 mixed, 62 other, and 20 unknown/not applicable. Over the five-year-period, fantasy titles have grown by 40% and horror by 100%, while science fiction has remained steady.
- In 2009, 670 books were novels, 116 anthologies or collections, 26 non-fiction, 33 series, 16 sets, and 23 other. Of those, 525 were new works, 345 re-editions, and 13 unknown.
- From 2005 to 2009, 832 books were published in Castillian, 110 in Catalán, 2 in Euskera (Basque), 7 in Gallego (Spain has four official languages), and 2555 in translation. Of those 3506 books, 70% were by men, 20% by women, and 10% by unknown/not applicable. Over the years, the number of women has been slowly increasing due to more juvenile fantasy and paranormal romance titles.
- Books for children and young adults account for 32% of the works; series and sagas, more than 40%.
- Distribution problems and small press runs are a particular handicap for small publishers. Spain's publishing sector is in constant transformation. No one knows what effect electronic books will have.
Villarreal concludes: "The future seems filled with uncertainty but also with business opportunities for those who take risks and find success. But the final word, as always, belongs to the reader."
— Sue Burke