Monday, February 04, 2013

Seven Reasons Why EBooks Will Be Big in Mexico or: El Kindle es el futuro

Ebooks are already in Mexico, as are zebras and ice skating rinks, by the way, but I've had this "it's not going to happen" conversation with so many head-in-the-sand Mexican writers and editors (all my age and older), I thought I'd offer my thoughts in more precise order.

Yes, a paper book is splendid thing, and yes, I myself prefer them to ebooks, and I understand why other people would prefer them to ebooks; nonetheless, I say the ebook phenomenon is going to take over the Mexican literary scene faster than anyone here imagines, and for seven reasons:

1. You can see it for yourself, Mexicans adapt-- maybe with a lag vis-a-vis, say, Palo Alto, but fast. Middle and upper class kids in urban areas from Mexico City to Tijuana, Queretaro to Merida, Puebla, Guadalajara, you name it, are all just as addicted to their handheld devices, texting friends and updating their Facebook pages at all hours, as anywhere else. And the Mexican middle class is a far sight more susbtantial than most north of the border would guess. As for middled-aged middle class Mexicans, they've figured out Twitter and Facebook as well as everyone else. (Is there a Mexican pundit / senator / university student without a Twitter feed?) True, Mexicans don't all read books anymore than do their counterparts north of the border, however, there have always been readers, avid readers, in Mexico. It may be small, but Mexico's literary culture is vibrant and thriving.

2. Mexican economists, always with an eye on development, know that putting Wi-Fi in a small town is akin to putting in road-- on steroids. And people in the small towns want to sell good and services. Once the Internet is there, how hard is it to discover that, oh by the way, you can download an ebook?

3. Internet venture capitalists are looking at emerging markets, such as Mexico, as prime targets for investment, especially given the grim outlook in the US and (way gnarlier) Europe.

4. Though Mexico does boast some mighty fine bookstores, they are thin on the ground and rarely well-stocked. It's a heap less trouble to download an ebook.

5.  Ebooks are cheaper than paper books and Mexicans, like everyone else on the planet, prefer to spend less money. This goes for both readers and publishers / self-publishers.

6. There are many great reads in Spanish, from Don Quijote to Cien años de soledad, and more popping out of the oven every season. P.S. Download mine why doncha.

7. There are even more maybe not so great reads that haven't been able to land a commercial or university press publisher, and, Whoa Nelly, here they come.

I note that one of Mexico's most award-winning and prolific writers, Agustín Cadena, recently launched his new novel, Maljuna Knabino, not as a print edition but as a Kindle.

I also note that many gringos in Mexico are already quite happily downloading Kindles galore.

I further note that the best way to do that is to forget buying a Kindle and download the free Kindle app for the iPad. iPad rules.