May 14, 2021

A Report on the Growth of Ebooks in Cuba

From the Havana Times:

Despite one of the worst levels of Internet connectivity in the world, Cuba continues to take shy steps towards the digital world.

Be it Fifty Shades of Grey, now a US blockbuster, or Cuban novelist Leonardo Padura’s bestseller The Man Who Loved Dogs, informal book downloads are today swelling the databases of Cuba’s still scarce but coveted e-readers.

This incipient phenomenon is flourishing like the weekly “package,” an informal compilation of pirated materials downloaded from the Internet that are practically delivered to the homes of consumers in Havana and other cities.

More than 2,000 eBooks are on sale at Cuba’s International Book Fair until February 22. Of these, a little over 60 are multimedia products offered in CDs or DVDs.”

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“There is still much room for growth. Wally Thompson, director of ISBN’s Cuban Agency, told the science journal Juventud Tecnica that, at present, only 45 percent of Cuba’s 175 publishing houses publish digital books.

That said, this figure represents significant growth when compared to the 20 percent reported in previous years.

As is often the case in Cuba, users tend to be ahead of government policy. A growing number of Cubans have e-readers, received as gifts from their relatives abroad, and they try to fill these with books whichever way they can.”

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About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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