• Table of contents

    • [+]Preliminaries (3)
    • [+]Introduction (4)
    • [+]Latin America (13)
    • [+]Sub-Saharan Africa (9)
    • [+]Arab World (11)
    • [+]Russia (11)
    • [+]India (11)
    • [+]China (9)
    • [+]Conclusions (6)
    • [+]Appendix (1)
  • Recent comments

    • Sylvain, on the section Traditional publishing and its response to the digital world. Between danger and opportunity:
      Complétement d'accord avec Thierry, en même temps, quelle solution possède une société si ce n'est d'évoluer ? J'aime assez les systèmes d'édition actuels.
    • Testere, on the section Technical difficulties of digital publishing in Arabic: ePub and OCR:
      No need to exaggerate. There is always a work around and following is one of them. For current technology, only way to get accurate text in Arabic is either using pdf or image. With following version you can read you...
    • Liquid book : le livre au fil du ruisseau, on the section Foreword:
      (…) la dernière conférence matinale par Octavio Kulesz qui rendait compte d’une étude sur l’édition électronique dans les pays du Sud restitue il me semble la qualité et la démarches de toutes les interventions : lumineuses (…)
    • chantal, on the section Technical data:
      merci pour la qualité et la clarté des informations que vous véhiculez sur ce site. Nous attirons votre attention sur notre présence dans le secteur du téléchargement de chapitres de livres universitaires. http://www.artelittera.com
    • octavio, on the section Digital technology as an opportunity:
      Tout à fait d'accord! Ce sera essentiel d'aller du bas vers le haut, de l'intérieur vers l'extérieur, si le but est de stimuler des "écosystèmes" numériques locaux durables et solides.
    • thierry quinqueton, on the section Mobile phones:
      Petite contribution aux difficultés de la communication électronique avec la diversité culturelle : mon e-reader sony bugue sur les ideogrammes chinois contenus dans les notes du texte quand je lis au format EPUB (mais tout est ok dans l'étude en...
    • thierry quinqueton, on the section Mobile phones:
      Le témoignage et la présentation de Qian Fucheng est une nouvelle source de réflexion sur l'apparition de nouvelles formes d'écritures et de nouvelles modalités d'édition.
    • thierry quinqueton, on the section The new giants of online transactions:
      Le requin et le crocodile La façon dont est présentée l'histoire de Taobao et de Ebay est riche pour nous éditeurs membres de l'Alliance.


Publication date: February 2011 ISBN: 978-2-9519747-4-6 (Spanish version) 978-2-9519747-5-3 (French version) 978-2-9519747-6-0 (English version) © International Alliance of Independent Publishers French translation: Danielle Charonnet English translation: Lynne Bolton


Thierry Quinqueton President of the International Alliance of Independent Publishers Publishing is sharing one’s passion for a text. That entails being fully familiar with, and really involved in, the sphere of debate in which one wishes to include it. Works are not published within the “bubble of the global village”, but within a particular living culture. [...]


Since I received the news in October 2010 that my application had been accepted, I have been lucky enough to work with total freedom on a topic that has always fascinated me. I am profoundly grateful to Laurence Hughes, Thierry Quinqueton, Clémence Hedde and the entire team at the International Alliance of Independent Publishers, as [...]

Digital Publishing in the Developing World: Imitation or Autonomous Evolution?

In the last 15 years, the digital revolution has thoroughly modified the way in which cultural assets are produced and distributed. Music was probably the first industry affected, but the impact has now reached all sectors, and in particular the book world. Indeed, e-books, audio books, print on demand, virtual stores and the expansion of [...]

A matter of enormous significance

The development of electronic publishing in the South proves therefore to be a topic that is in itself worthy of discussion in global forums. But, more importantly still, it constitutes an absolutely vital issue for developing countries themselves. On the one hand, according to the observations of the main actors involved, many of the typical [...]


Having recognized the significance of analyzing digital publishing in developing countries, it is necessary to point out that a study of this nature inevitably faces numerous obstacles. Firstly, the digital publishing projects already under way in developing countries – some of which have had a great impact on their societies – have not yet been sufficiently promoted [...]


The above-mentioned elements have led us to outline a heterodox and pragmatic approach on all levels. First of all, with regard to information, we have made use of a variety of sources. As soon as the research study got under way in October 2010, we distributed an online questionnaire that served as a preliminary survey: [...]


  Business models have yet to be invented for Latin American electronic publishing, although certain actors are already carving out a clear direction. With new social sectors being incorporated into electronic consumption year by year, accelerating investment in several countries and the liveliness that characterizes its online literature, digital publishing in Latin America will have [...]

Technical data

Countries that make up the region: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Uruguay, Venezuela. Population: 588,649,000 (2010) Urban population: 79.6% (2010) GDP: US$ 2,760,840.9 millions (2010) GDP per capita: US$ 4,789.2 (2010) Unemployment: 7.6% (2010) Politics and society: [...]

The history of digital publishing in Latin America

The first experiments in digital publishing in Latin America date back to the late 1990s; that is to say, to the time of the first Internet bubble. Dozens of digital libraries sprang up throughout the region during that period. In 1999, in the framework of the Crecer Project, the Argentine rural libraries association founded the [...]

Digital technology for printing books

Firstly, we should mention the expansion of print on demand (POD). Most Latin American capitals now have POD terminals, of varying sizes, depending on the dimensions of each market. Print on demand has gradually begun to displace the traditional Offset system, in a context of decreasing average print runs. The survey carried out by CERLALC [...]

A new wave of virtual stores

At the same time, numerous traditional bookstores have discovered successful formulas for selling paper books via the Web,[1] perhaps as a consequence of the greater propensity on the part of consumers to buy online, with Brazil leading the statistics in this area.[2] But it is perhaps the incorporation of electronic books into these stores’ catalogues [...]

Big aggregators

It is interesting to observe that most of the e-books sold in Latin American stores come from external aggregators, in particular from Spain, the US and the UK. In Spanish-speaking countries, the leading virtual bookstores obtain their backlists thanks to Publidisa (Spain), which has over 20,000 titles.[1] In general, the imbalance between local and imported [...]

Devices and applications

So far, e-readers have not reached anything like a mass market, due to various factors. The most important one is without doubt the high price of these devices at the destination point, in the case of imported ones: in Argentina or Colombia, a Kindle bought for 139 dollars through Amazon may end up costing more [...]

Digital publishing houses

The accelerated pace of new developments in the electronic arena has encouraged the growth of native digital publishers, that is to say, publishing houses conceived entirely with the Web in mind. The profile of these ventures is extremely diverse. First of all we find self-publishing houses whose works are distributed in paper (POD) and/or electronic [...]

Mobile phones and micro-stories

With regard to mobile phones, so far in Latin America there have not been any publishing projects that have had an impact comparable to those found in sub-Saharan Africa, perhaps because Internet penetration is higher among Latin American users than African ones, which means that the most innovative experiments are targeted directly at the Web. [...]

Online reading and writing

The Internet is currently home to much of the literary vitality of Latin America. The Web has become a privileged setting for creation and diffusion, thanks to free and open source tools like WordPress, Issuu and Blogspot. There are countless online literary journals and blogs, such as Moleskine Literario (Peru), Ficción Breve (Venezuela), Boca de [...]

Traditional publishing and its response to the digital world. Between danger and opportunity

The previous point may help to explain the attitude of many Latin American publishers and booksellers towards the digital age. Piracy is probably the major concern, since no one wants to suffer the same fate as record companies. However, paper publishing has its limitations and sooner or later publishers will have to experiment with new [...]

Challenges and proposals: digitization, training and networking

If our vision is correct, then digital technology could signify a positive step for Latin American professionals, since, if properly used, these tools would help to boost the strengths and mitigate the weaknesses of present-day publishing. However, any digital reengineering of the sector will demand considerable effort. First of all, any professionals seeking to distribute [...]

Possible trends

In any case, irrespective of the reaction of the traditional actors, there are various trends that are likely to accelerate the development of digital publishing in Latin America: A new middle class will be rapidly incorporated into the consumer market, especially in Brazil. Digital products (hardware and content) will no doubt feel the impact, particularly [...]


Sub-Saharan Africa suffers from a serious lack of infrastructure and human resources. However, the extensive mobile phone network covering the region has enabled the emergence of new publishing actors that have made mobiles their main ally. Traditional African publishers, for their part, appear in general to be optimistic with regard to new technologies: the foundations [...]

Technical data

Countries that make up the region: Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cape Verde, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritius, Mayotte, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Saint Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra [...]

Reading devices in an incipient market

The first observation a visitor might make with regard to digital publishing in sub-Saharan Africa is that it is in an entirely embryonic state. For a start, the presence of e-readers is minimal. A device like the Kindle has such limited network coverage that in February 2011, only 7 countries – South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, [...]

Between the digital and the analogue: experiences with CD ROM and print on demand

Founded in 2008, the publishing house Nouvelles Éditions Numériques Africaines (NENA) bases its business model on marketing electronic books on CD ROM. From its headquarters in Dakar, this company compiles law books in PDF format – with DRM – which it sells in Senegal and Cameroon. Each one of these books contains thousands of pages and comes [...]

African online stores

Kalahari is one of the leading online stores in Africa and sells books, CDs, cameras and other mass-market products. In its digital downloads section, inaugurated in March 2010, it offers a backlist of almost 220,000 e-books and 50 electronic magazines at various prices and in different formats,[1] by both African publishers – for example LAPA – [...]