Tuesday, 27 April 2010

e-books in Latin American – a mistaken market?

The Latin American publishing industry has taken with caution new technologies said the director for the Regional Centre for Book Development in Latin America, Caribbean, Spain and Portugal (CERLALC), Fernando Zapata Lopez. In 2009, only 15% of the leading publishers in Latin America had electronic books in its catalogue and the electronic book titles were not more than eight.

Zapata, who is also a specialist in copyright, mentions that given the small number of electronic books published in Latin America, he wonders whether it is because there is no interest from publishers or there are no consumers. Referring to the latter, he refers to the situation with internet: first, access to broadband is still limited to certain areas in many Latin American countries and second, the connection is expensive.

One of the main objectives of CERLALC is to create readers not only to benefit the publishing industry but in favour of democracy. It is "producing better readers among citizens in order that they can participate in building democracies," he said.

Finally, Zapata recommends the governments of Latin America to support cultural identity, helping the book industry and have the will to fight piracy as any other criminal conduct. He adds that “The State must not make distinctions between tangible and intangible assets when it comes to fulfilling its obligation to protect”.

I do agree. Most Latin American countries do have well written legislations in the area of IP. Nonetheless there is a big gap between legislation and practice - they do not appear to go hand in hand.

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