Spanish Selections

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Selecting Spanish material does not have to be a daunting proposition. Simply understanding how the Spanish language book industry works and how it differs from its English counterpart is half the battle. Here is a compilation of tips and insights to aid your Spanish selecting.

Timing Is Everything
The acquisition process involves book distributors who work with domestic and off-shore publishers. Because of this “extra layer,” it can take longer to acquire Spanish language materials than their English equivalents so it is important to plan ahead if books are needed by a certain date. Changes in distribution rights and availability can also contribute to delays. If funds must be spent within a certain timeframe, a good rule of thumb is to overbuy by at least 20% to account for cancellations.

Pardon Me?
We all know that British English differs from American English and Australian English. Spanish also varies depending on where it's spoken, which is why it is important to verify that purchases reflect the dialect used by your patrons. For example, Spaniards call a potato “una patata” while Mexicans say “una papa.” Spanish dialects differ not only between countries, but also between regions. Central American Spanish is spoken in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, while Caribbean Spanish is spoken in Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and areas of Venezuela, Colombia, and Panama. The Spanish region of Catalonia has its own language, Catalan, which is a combination of Spanish, French, Italian, and Portuguese.

Well, This Is Different
Artwork in Spanish language material has a tendency to be more liberal than in American books. It is not uncommon to come across a great Spanish language book only to have the cover depict nudity, or a children’s book on reproduction that illustrates two people in bed.

Content is also important from a practical viewpoint, especially when home repair/construction and electrical manuals are involved. Make sure the content reflects U.S. measurements and regulations.

Additionally, common collections in English are often difficult to replicate in Spanish. For example, it is rare to find Spanish language easy readers, large print, graphic novels, DIY manuals, legal guides, audiobooks, and read-along kits.

Hold It Together
Spanish language books are primarily published in paperback format. Hardbacks are certainly available, but they are not as common and usually expensive. It’s important to keep an open mind when it comes to binds for Spanish language material because excellent titles may only be available in paper—sometimes even with stapled spines or an inferior paper cover. Rebinding paperback books into hardbacks is an excellent way to solve this issue.

Everything Old Is New Again
Be skeptical when it comes to Spanish materials that are labeled “new.” In some cases, titles may not actually be new releases, but are newly available for purchase in the U.S. Many factors go into the delay of title being available in the U.S. market. For example, a book published a year or more ago may have only recently been made available in the U.S. after finally being granted “translation” or “user” rights. Spanish translations of popular English language titles can take at least six months to be published, which is why it is rare to have a simultaneous release of both English and Spanish editions. It took three years to translate Diana Gabaldon’s Written in My Own Heart’s Blood into Spanish and 10 years for Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild to be translated into Spanish.

When evaluating the thousands of Spanish titles that are made available each year, Brodart’s Spanish experts have taken into account all of the previously mentioned variables and intricacies (dialect, library appropriateness, acquisitions, etc.), and have created a variety of selection lists so you can focus on choosing the best books for your collection. Simply click on the Lists tab in Bibz and navigate to the left side of the screen to find Spanish. There you will find selection lists ranging from award winners and bestsellers to special topics and English language Latino titles. Each Spanish title notes if the title is appropriate for all Spanish speaking countries or for just certain countries with regard to dialect and/or subject.

Searching for titles concerning a certain country and/or its dialect is also an option in Bibz. Click on the Search tab, choose Sources in the Databases & Resource Lists, and scroll to find Brodart’s Spanish Titles.

Que se diviertan seleccionando! Have fun selecting!