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Reading in Spanish: The e-Libro Way
Volume 39, Number 4 - July/August 2015

Outside the Library

Spanish readers looking to buy ebooks in Spanish will naturally turn first to Amazon or Google Play. I found more than 5,400 titles in the Foreign Language/Spanish section of the Kindle Store at, and the number went up to more than 6,000 when I simply searched the word “español” in that Kindle Store. It is also possible to access the Amazon stores designed to serve purchasers in Spanish-speaking countries. The Tienda Kindle in Spain ( has 3.5 million titles, but that includes some in Spain’s three other official languages; the Mexican Tienda Kindle ( lists somewhat fewer.

If you find yourself searching aimlessly through Spanish ebook titles but are not sure what to purchase, head over to to bring yourself up-to-date on new books in Spanish. This project of the Spanish Institute for Foreign Trade (ICEX) and the Spanish Association of Publishers Guilds (FGEE) disseminates best-seller lists, a newsletter, and news about news releases and authors. It has an attractive and informative website.

Prominent in all the Spanish Kindle stores was La Templanza (Temperance , the newest title by Maria Dueñas, author of The Time in Between and The Heart Has Is Reasons). It is not yet in English at this writing, and since I loved her first two books, I was tempted enough to click the “Comprar ya en 1-Clic” button. Buying in a foreign “tienda” is just as easy as buying in your normal Kindle store—your bank card will probably report the transaction to you in your regular dollars, and delivery to your preferred eplatform proceeds just as fast.

Google Play ( also displays a number of Spanish-language books when the word “español” is searched; many of them are free or very low-cost. Sub jects covered run the gamut of fiction and nonfiction titles. There is an abundance of material for the general Spanish-reading public in these sources, but neither Google nor Amazon has developed ebook programs for Spanish titles specifically for libraries.

Librarians and e-Libro

It is therefore up to libraries to develop programs for the needs of their various populations. All types of libraries can assist those who want to speak and read Spanish: college and university level, community college level, public libraries, and schools. e-Libro is well-poised to meet the challenges of this diverse market and join EBSCO, ProQuest, and other mainstream providers of research databases in U.S. libraries. Like ebrary, e-Libro has staff librarians who have developed multiple types of support for librarians on the job—both Spanish-speaking librarians and those English-only (or English-primarily) who serve Spanish speakers. Foremost is the multilingual interface gateway to unique Spanish-language content not duplicated in other resources. A large number of personalized training materials are available in English and Spanish, and several how-to videos are archived for immediate streaming.

e-Libro has recently developed Spanish-language information literacy modules for Spanish readers. The modules were written “with ACRL’s information literacy guidelines in mind.” (See the Association of College and Research Libraries’ Guidelines, Standards, and Frameworks page at, and especially the Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education dated Feb. 2, 2015, at These materials are being made available for free through the internet (; the first group concentrates on lessons to aid in finding, using, and evaluating information and on citing sources.

It has never been easier to expand library collections to serve the Spanish-speaking populations of the United States, and there has never been more reason to do so.


Erard, Michael, Gray Matter: “Are We Really Monolingual?” The New York Times ; Jan. 15, 2012, p. SR12);

Lopez, Mark Hugo and Ana Gonzalez-Barrera, “What Is the Future of Spanish in the United States?” Pew Research Center, Sept. 5, 2013 (

Lopez, Mark Hugo and Ana Gonzalez-Barrera, “Spanish Is the Most Spoken Non-English Language in U.S. Homes, Even Among Non-Hispanics,” Pew Research Center, Aug. 13, 2013 (

Ryan, Camille, “Language Use in the United States: 2011,” American Community Service Reports. Issued August 2013 (

U.S. Census Bureau. “Language Use” (

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Now based in Cincinnati, Susanne Bjørner ( previously lived for a dozen years in Spain but is not Hispanic. She is the author of a series of articles appearing in Searcher magazine from 2010–2012 on searching Spanish-language reference databases.


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