New Republic - BY
In emerging economies all over the world, U.S. book publishers are angling for new audiences. When Penguin and Random House announced a merger last year, Publishing Perspectives deduced that Penguin’s growing operations in India, China, and Brazil, and Random House’s dominance in Latin America, played a part in negotiations. Amazon extended its reach to Mexico this August and is already peddling two million titles there. A recent report from the Association of American Publishers shows sales by U.S. publishers abroad rose more than 7 percent between 2011 and 2012.
To some extent, this is just straightforward market expansion. Often the books that sell best in translation are also blockbusters at home: Game of Thrones, the Twilight series. But rapidly expanding economies—and book markets—do seem to have particular literary tastes. Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love sequel, Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage, was a flop at home, but in Brazil, it was a success—selling 530,154 copies to date. Of course, it might have helped that Gilbert settled down with a Brazilian hunk.