Latin America provides new publishing opportunities

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While many publishing companies are investing in China and India, there is another, lesser-known, market that is also expanding rapidly. According to a report by Dutch marketing-services company Accucoms, Latin America is set for rapid growth and presents many untapped opportunities for publishers. In fact, China is itself investing heavily in Latin America and the region looks set to benefit from this.

The Accucoms report highlights the rapid growth in internet usage in Latin America and says that, as a result, online resources are becoming a significant and growing part of libraries' collections in this region. The librarians who took part in Accucoms’ survey felt optimistic about their economic position and future growth. General market conditions are good and many of the librarians (57 per cent) believe that their budgets were likely to increase in the coming years. Accucoms found that online resources are a significant and growing part of a library’s collection and that many librarians plan to invest in a wide range of resources (particularly eBooks, online databases and journals) over the coming years.

Pinar Erzin, managing director of Accucoms, told ‘The commitment to digital resources was a surprise to us as we were not sure if the region had the supporting infrastructure. Perpetual access issues, however, remain a concern. Librarians tend to prefer to sign with publishers who have made archiving deals with third parties that contract to protect the content and continue to make it available to subscribers whatever happens to a publisher.’

Although budgets are growing, libraries in Latin America remain restricted in what they can afford to purchase. As such, they appreciate business models that offer them the flexibility to buy the content they most need, in the format they want, for a fair price that will not be subject to large price rises after the initial year. Online and print bundles – where available – remain by far the most popular subscription option (particularly where the online access is given free with print).

Despite improving conditions, it is also important to consider that significant democratic and economic differences remain between the individual countries that constitute Latin America, according to Accucoms. ‘Although the general area shows great promise for publishers to increase levels of sales, different countries offer different levels of opportunity and require different approaches,’ said Erzin.

Accucoms believes that those publishers likely to be most successful in this market are those that engage in ongoing communication programmes with librarians, in their local languages. This has to be maintained throughout the sales cycle from introducing new products right through to post-sales support.