The Colombian publishing industry represents one of Latin America’s most exciting emerging book markets. Later this month, we will be holding a webinar hosted by Sandra Pulido Urrea, Director of the Bogotá International Book Fair (FILBo) and Fairs Manager at the Colombian Book Chamber. To give us a taste of what to expect in the webinar, here she tells us a bit about her work and Colombian titles in the international marketplace.
- Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Sandra Pulido Urrea. I studied social communications with an emphasis on publishing production in Bogotá. While I was a student, I fell in love with books, with the book market, with the industry itself: all the people and the jobs that bring books to readers. I started as an intern in the biggest publishing house there was at the time, Editorial Norma, and got a job three months later. It was a great place to start and grow with a solid basis. I’ve changed jobs, and even moved to Mexico City to lead an expo as a cultural event and as a business. In September 2016, I joined the Colombian Book Chamber as a Manager of Book Fairs and Director of the Bogotá’s Book Fair (that is the only book fair that we organized). My job includes: the internationalization of the industry, the participation of the industry in international book fairs, and helping the industry to grow at the national-level. We also lead a network of book fairs across the country, and come up with new ways and spaces for bringing books and people closer together.
- Describe the work that you do in one sentence.
Promote the Colombian book industry nationally and internationally.
- What has been your most successful initiative or event to date? What do you think made it successful?
The organization of Bogotá’s book fair has been without a doubt the most successful event. Beyond the numbers of participants that have increased year over year, I have created several programs in the fair, such as FILBo City, FILBo Region, the independent Pavilion, the International Business Center, FILBo Entrepreneur, Books of Movies, thematic rooms, among others. These programs have enriched the content and the scope of the ideas and insights we want to put on the table.
I think that all these programs were successful because FILBo is a 33-year old cultural program. Good ideas with good implementation can only make it better.
- Where are Colombia’s primary export markets? What do you think makes Colombian titles attractive to these markets?
Peru, Ecuador, Mexico, the United States and Panamá are the principal export markets. The quality of the content and language make Colombian titles attractive. Even in the US, books are sold in Spanish.
- Are there other export markets that Colombian publishers are especially interested in now? Why?
Yes. All the markets that are interested in translations: the US, Canada, the UK, France, Germany, South Korea. We have a long way to go in this area.
- What are some of the greatest challenges the Colombian book industry faces in promoting books in international markets?
Getting to people around the world who are interested in translation and a bigger budget from government promotion grants, as well as developing a solid internationalization program and a greater variety of publishing houses and titles.
- What is your favourite book event outside of Colombia?
I would say the Guadalajara International Book Fair. It’s very close to my culture, and I enjoy it from day 0. As I already mentioned, I used to live in Mexico City, so it’s very familiar. And I get to see everyone I know once a year.
- If you could recommend a recent Colombian title to an international reader, what would it be?
The Bitch by Pilar Quintana.
Want to learn more about what Colombia has to offer as a potential export market for your books? Register for our free webinar on exporting to Colombia.