Amazon has been making some big strides in extending its footprint outside of the U.S. with its Kindle e-readers and Kindle bookstore, but today it took a step to improve how it caters to Spanish speakers closer to home, with the launch of a new section of its U.S. Kindle store dedicated to books in Spanish.
Called “Tienda Kindle“, Amazon says the store features 30,000 e-books in Spanish along with a whole new level of customer support aimed at Spanish-speaking users, including help pages as well as phone and email customer support in the language. The move represents how Amazon is looking to take its Kindle offerings beyond the first tier of early adopters that have bought the product to date.
It also underscores how companies like Amazon are trying to capitalize on the rise of e-readers and e-books. Research out today from Pew shows that at the moment only about 21 percent of adults in the U.S. have read an e-book in the last year. That number appears to be on the rise, though, going up by three percent just between December 2011 and February 2012.
Amazon is going into this with the intention of dominating from the word go: it says that the new bookstore, which it is calling eBooks Kindle en Español, will have the most Spanish-language bestsellers of any e-bookstore in the U.S., as measured by Nielsen. Titles will include both translations and those written specifically in Spanish, among them “El Alquimista” by Paulo Coelho, “Cien años de soledad” by Gabriel García Márquez and “Juegos del Hambre” by Suzanne Collins as well as the Twilight series.
It will also featuure the largest representation of Mexican authors, including Jose Emilio Pacheco, Carlos Monsivais and Sergio Pitol; as well as an exclusive selection of children’s books in Spanish, with series covering such brands as Dora the Explorer and Go Diego Go. It will also feature news from Spain’s El Pais, as well as subscriptions to 14 different Latin American newspapers such as El Universal and La Nacion.
As with the regular Kindle store it will also feature around one thousand free classics, as well as Kindle Singles in Spanish. It also provides instructions on how to customize a Kindle “for complete Spanish-language reading and navigation,” which would include highlights and other social features, it says. including popular highlights and other social features.
For now the Spanish-only store is only available in the U.S. but it looks like the plan is to make it international:
“We’re looking forward to continued expansion of our store for Spanish language readers around the world,” noted Russ Grandinetti, Vice President, Kindle Content. “We expect our Spanish-speaking customers to enjoy both the newly-added books in Spanish, and the improved shopping and reading experience—including dedicated customer service in Spanish—that we’ve added to eBooks Kindle en Español.