Spanish on our Shelves | Collection Development: Spanish-Language Materials

With 37 million speakers, Spanish is the top non-English language spoken at home in the United States, with audiences from different countries and different traditions. These 44 titles, plus a list of vendors, will help librarians appeal to every population.

ljx140701webcoldev Spanish on our Shelves | Collection Development: Spanish Language Materials

Spanish, with more than 37 million speakers, is the top non-English language spoken at home in the United States, according to a 2011 U.S. Census Bureau report. Since it is also the fastest-growing spoken language, librarians face the challenge of finding Spanish-language materials that will appeal to populations who may share the same language but are in fact quite culturally diverse. As Andres Hax points out in his article “The Idiosyncrasies of the Spanish Language Publishing Industry” (, there are four crucial distinctions to consider: publishing and reading preferences are different among Latin Americans, who should not be taken as “one homogeneous block”; production, trade, and distribution vary from country to country; an overview of the Spanish-language publishing industry and market cannot be based solely on looking toward Spain; and the Spanish that is spoken and written across Latin America differs from what is spoken and written in Spain. This becomes even more relevant when it comes to translation.

The demand for ebooks in Spanish is also evolving as the total U.S. Hispanic population grows. “A recent study by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project showed Hispanics adopting ereaders and tablets much faster than the U. S. population as a whole,” explains Erik Riesenberg’s recent article, “Is Dawn Finally Breaking for E-books in Spanish? Spanish Books Spring 2014” ( Responding to this growing demand, online bookstores such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble offer thousands of Spanish-language titles for the Kindle and the NOOK.

Collection development 101

If you don’t know what to buy and where to get it and don’t know Spanish, a great way to begin is by referring to the “Guidelines for Library Services to Spanish-Speaking Library Users” (, compiled by the American Library Association’s (ALA) Reference and User Services Association (RUSA). Prepared in collaboration with REFORMA, the National Association To Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish Speaking, this guide targets the library professional starting to implement services for the Spanish-language community. The guide addresses eight points:

• Relevancy: Materials provided should be culturally pertinent to the local community and meet the informational, educational, and recreational needs of its users.

• Language: Purchase bilingual and standard Spanish-­language materials published from countries represented in the community, and carefully review translations for accuracy.

• Access: Facilitate “bibliographic access” to enable better access to the collection, e.g., Spanish-language subject headings should be provided in the OPAC.

• Formats: Materials should be purchased in all available formats, which means buying print, media, and electronic resources for all age levels.

• Selection: When selecting Spanish-language materials, regularly consult reviews from professional publications, vendors, distributors’ suggestions, and publishers’ catalogs for new release updates.

• Vendors: Consider outsourcing your Spanish purchasing. Assess the services offered by various vendors in order to determine those that best match your collection’s needs.

• Gifts/donations: Engage and collaborate with local community groups that can help maintain the Spanish-language collections.

• Assessment: Continuously evaluate the library’s Spanish-language collections policies.

Aside from using local vendors, librarians should also attend domestic trade shows and book fairs, such as the Miami Book Fair International, Los Angeles Spanish Language Book Fair (LéaLA), Bibliotecas Para La Gente (BPLG) Annual Book Fair, and BookExpo America (BEA).

In their quest to obtain a wider selection of quality materials that represents the diversity of the U.S. Spanish-speaking population, some librarians also attend international book fairs. The following represent the most important publishing, cultural, and literary gatherings in the Spanish-language materials market: the Guadalajara International Book Fair, also known as FIL (Mexico), for which ALA offers a free pass program; the LIBER book fair (Spain), alternating annually between Madrid and Barcelona; the Buenos Aires International Book Fair (Argentina); and the Bogotá International Book Fair, or FILBO (Colombia.)

The following is a selected bibliography to help librarians maintain their Spanish-language collections and resources. It consists of mostly new titles, but also some backlist, from different parts of Latin America and Spain that are available in the United States.

Starred (OrangeReviewStar Spanish on our Shelves | Collection Development: Spanish Language Materials) titles are essential purchases for all collections.

Libbhy Romero works as a Selector for the Adult English and World Language Collections at BookOps, the shared technical services organization of Brooklyn Public Library & New York Public Library. Her assignments include English, Spanish, French, and Kreyol collection development. She is a former Northeast Chapter President for REFORMA, the National Association To Promote Library Services to the Spanish-Speaking


OrangeReviewStar Spanish on our Shelves | Collection Development: Spanish Language MaterialsAllende, Isabel. El juego de Ripper. Vintage Español: Random. 2014. 480p. ISBN 9780804171656. pap. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9780804173254.

A fast-paced thriller involving brilliant high school senior Amanda, who is trying to unmask a case of a serial killer in San Francisco. It becomes personal when her mother, Indiana, suddenly disappears.

OrangeReviewStar Spanish on our Shelves | Collection Development: Spanish Language MaterialsAramburu, Fernando. Ávidas pretensiones. Seix Barral: Planeta. 2014. 416p. ISBN 9788432222597. pap. $40.55; ebk. ISBN 9788432222863.

In this winner of the Biblioteca Breve 2014 Award, spring is upon the village of Morilla del Pinar as it welcomes the most distinguished Spanish poets. The three-day event gives the participants the perfect opportunity to unleash themselves and share the same goals: sex, fun, and literary glory.

OrangeReviewStar Spanish on our Shelves | Collection Development: Spanish Language MaterialsBolaño, Roberto. 2666. Vintage Español: Random. 2009. 1136p. ISBN 9780307475954. pap. $19.95.

Four European scholars, interested in obscure novelist Benno von Archimboldi’s works, look for him in the northern Mexico border city Santa Teresa.

OrangeReviewStar Spanish on our Shelves | Collection Development: Spanish Language MaterialsCoelho, Paulo. El alquimista: una fábula para seguir tus sueños. Rayo: HarperCollins. 2002. 192p. ISBN 9780062511409. pap. $14.99.

Inspiring story about Santiago, a young Andalusian shepherd pursuing his “Personal Legend.”

OrangeReviewStar Spanish on our Shelves | Collection Development: Spanish Language MaterialsCisneros, Sandra (text) & Ester Hernández (illus.). ¿Has visto a María? Vintage Español: Random. 2012. 112p. tr. by Liliana Valenzuela. ISBN 9780307744708. pap. $21; ebk. ISBN 9780307951328.

Poignant and richly illustrated, this story is perfect for adults who are dealing with loss, grief, healing, and love.

OrangeReviewStar Spanish on our Shelves | Collection Development: Spanish Language MaterialsDíaz, Junot. Así es como la pierdes. Vintage Español: Random. 2013. 208p. ISBN 9780345805249. pap. $15; ebk. ISBN 9780345805256.

These nine emotional short stories explore different kinds of love.

OrangeReviewStar Spanish on our Shelves | Collection Development: Spanish Language MaterialsFranco, Jorge. El mundo de afuera. Alfaguara: Santillana. 2014. 250p. ISBN 9781622639403. pap. $19.99.

A crime ring leader called El Mono kidnaps Isolda’s father, Don Diego, in 1971 Medellín, Colombia. Winner of the Alfaguara 2014 Award.

OrangeReviewStar Spanish on our Shelves | Collection Development: Spanish Language MaterialsFuentes, Carlos. Federico en su balcón. Alfaguara: Santillana. 2012. 280p. ISBN 9786071120069. pap. $19.99.

In the late Fuentes’s last novel, the author reflects on love, justice, and power by engaging, through his character Dante Loredano, in an imaginary dialog with German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche.

Galán, Jorge. La habitación al fondo de la casa. Valparaíso Ediciones. 2013. 216p. ISBN 9788494103698. pap. $19.99.

In the tradition of magic realism, a century of life in El Salvador goes through Magdalena’s eyes as she lies dying. She goes back to the moment when she realizes she has a mysterious condition, a hidden cruel gift that attracts the misfortune of her enemies.

Gutiérrez Aragón, Manuel. Cuando el frío llegue al corazón. Anagrama. 2014. 136p. ISBN 9788433997661. pap. $20.95.

While his father is imprisoned for political reasons, a young man enjoys his freedom and is initiated into adulthood and love by a languid, beautiful woman.

Montero, Mayra. El caballero de San Petersburgo. Tusquets: Planeta. 2014. 256p. ISBN 9786074215366. pap. $15.95.

In the late 18th century, Antonia de Salis is seduced by fascinating idealistic Spanish American military officer Francisco de Miranda, who is visiting Russia in order to build an alliance with Potemkin.

Navarrete, William. Fugas. Tusquets: Planeta. 2014. 252p. ISBN 9786074215175. pap. $19.95.

Through the story of a mother and son who try to escape from Cuba, this novel presents a raw, musical, and nostalgic portrait of the island.

OrangeReviewStar Spanish on our Shelves | Collection Development: Spanish Language MaterialsRuiz Zafón, Carlos. La sombra del viento. Vintage Español: Random. 2009. 569p. ISBN 9780307472595. pap. $17.95; ebk. ISBN 9780307806796.

In 1945 Barcelona, ten-year-old Daniel’s father takes the boy to a clandestine library. Daniel selects an intriguing book, unraveling a series of mysterious events that change the course of his life.

OrangeReviewStar Spanish on our Shelves | Collection Development: Spanish Language MaterialsUnger, David. El precio de la fuga. F&G Editores. 2013. 328p. ISBN 9789929552791. pap. $24.95.

Samuel Berkow, a Jewish World War I veteran fleeing Hamburg, gets stuck in the Guatemalan port town of Puerto Barrios en route to meet his cousin. Overwhelmed by a series of confusions, he ends up committing a crime that threatens to ruin him.

OrangeReviewStar Spanish on our Shelves | Collection Development: Spanish Language MaterialsVargas Llosa, Mario. El héroe discreto. Alfaguara: Santillana. 2013. 383p. ISBN 9781622631193. pap. $19.99; ebk. ISBN 9788420415628.

Parallel stories of two very different businessmen: Ismael from Lima, who is plotting against his two sons who tried to have him killed, and Felicito from Piura, who finds himself being ­blackmailed.

Volpi, Jorge. Memorial del engaño. Alfaguara: Santillana. 2014. 432p. ISBN 9786071130525. pap. $19.99; ebk. ISBN 9786071130556.

In this novel based on real events (the 2008 market crisis), Jorge Volpi, a financial genius investment banker, is accused by the authorities of embezzling billions of ­dollars.

Popular culture & self-help

Esquivel, Laura. Escribiendo la nueva historia: Como dejar de ser víctima en 12 sesiones. Vintage Español: Random. 2014. 208p. ISBN 9780804171243. pap. $15; ebk. ISBN 9780804171250.

Based on various scientific discoveries and reflections, Esquivel’s step-by-step guide aims to help the reader leave behind negative emotions and behaviors.

OrangeReviewStar Spanish on our Shelves | Collection Development: Spanish Language MaterialsGomez-Bassols, Isabel. Cartas a la Dra. Isabel: Mensajes y consejos de El Ángel de la Radio. C.A. Pr: Penguin. 2014. 256p. ISBN 9780147512635. pap. $16.95.

Popular “Doctora Isabel,” also known as the “Angel of the Airwaves,” returns with a collection of letters aiming to help women and men overcome their problems.

OrangeReviewStar Spanish on our Shelves | Collection Development: Spanish Language MaterialsKing, Elaine. Tu plan de vida en Estados Unidos. C.A. Pr: Penguin. (Hecho Facil!). 2013. 192p. ISBN 9780142427408. pap. $10.95.

Financial expert King offers tools to help the transition to life in the United States.

Lozano, César. El lado fácil de la gente difícil. Aguilar: Santillana. 2013. 304p. ISBN 9781622633814. pap. $14.99.

International lecturer and radio host Lozano explains the five key qualities needed to successfully deal with difficult people.

OrangeReviewStar Spanish on our Shelves | Collection Development: Spanish Language MaterialsPolo, Ana Maria. Querida Dra Polo 2. Aguilar: Santillana. 2013. 258p. ISBN 9781614359548. pap. $15.99; ebk. ISBN 9781622637409.

This sequel to the author’s best seller Querida Dra features controversial, secret letters not suitable to be answered on her popular TV show, Caso Cerrado.

Vargas, Gaby. Yo decido. Aguilar: Santillana. 2014. 288p. ISBN 9786071128935. pap. $17.99; ebk. ISBN 9786071128942.

The author shares lessons to help and empower the reader in aspects of daily life.


Cala, Ismael. Cala contigo: El poder de escuchar. C.A. Pr: Penguin. 2013. 272p. ISBN 9780147509369. pap. $17.95; ebk. ISBN 9780698146174.

CNN en Español anchor Cala confides that the key to his success as an interviewer is listening to others, so that they share with viewers who they are and how they think.

OrangeReviewStar Spanish on our Shelves | Collection Development: Spanish Language MaterialsCortázar, Julio. Cortázar de la A a la Z. Alfaguara: Santillana. 2014. 320p. photos. ISBN 9786071130365. pap. $29.99; ebk. ISBN 9789870432579.

This visual biography marks the centenary year of Cortázar’s birth.

Himitian, Evangelina. Francisco: El Papa de la gente. Aguilar: Santillana. 2013. 368p. ISBN 9780882725574. pap. $15.99; ebk. ISBN 9789870429357.

Complete biography of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Pope Francis, the first pontiff ever elected from Latin America and the first Jesuit to hold the position.

OrangeReviewStar Spanish on our Shelves | Collection Development: Spanish Language MaterialsPelé & Brian Winter. Porque el fútbol importa. Celebra: Penguin. 2014. 304p. ISBN 9780451468451. pap. $17; ebk. ISBN 9780698150065.

Brazilian national treasure and legendary soccer great, Pelé here shares for the first time his story, experiences, and thoughts about the game.

OrangeReviewStar Spanish on our Shelves | Collection Development: Spanish Language MaterialsRivera, Jenni. Inquebrantable: Mi Historia, a mi Manera. Atria Español: S. & S. 2013. 256p. ISBN 9781476745428. pap. $16; ebk. ISBN 9781476745435.

An authorized autobiography of the late Rivera, one of the most acclaimed Spanish-language singers in the United States, with more than 15 million albums sold ­worldwide.

OrangeReviewStar Spanish on our Shelves | Collection Development: Spanish Language MaterialsSotomayor, Sonia. Mi mundo adorado. Vintage Español: Random. 2013. 352p. ISBN 9780345804099. $27.95; ebk. ISBN 9780345806437.

Autobiography of the third woman and the first Latina to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court.

OrangeReviewStar Spanish on our Shelves | Collection Development: Spanish Language MaterialsTornielli, Andrea. Jorge Bergoglio Francisco. Vintage Español: Random. 2013. 192p. ISBN 9780804169134. pap. $12.95; ebk. ISBN 9780804169141.

Biography of Pope Francis, an Argentine Jesuit chosen to lead the Catholic Church.


Hoffmann, Ingrid. Latin D’Lite: Deliciosas recetas latinas con un toque saludable. Celebra: Penguin. 2013. 320p. ISBN 9780451416285. pap. $19.99; ebk. ISBN 9781101639337.

TV hostess and international chef Hoffmann offers a healthy tour of the modern version of classic Latin American cooking with more than 150 fully illustrated, easy-to-follow recipes.

Lemoine, Yvan. Comidas USA: una colección esencial de recetas clásicas y reconfortantes de Estados Unidos. C.A. Pr: Penguin. 2012. 240p. ISBN 9780983139096. pap. $21.95; ebk. ISBN 9781101587294.

Food Network Star finalist Lemoine pre­sents more than 100 classic comfort food recipes from the United States.

OrangeReviewStar Spanish on our Shelves | Collection Development: Spanish Language MaterialsRoque, Raquel. Cocina Latina: El sabor del mundo latino. C.A. Pr: Penguin. 2013. 377p. ISBN 9780983139034. pap. $16.95; ebk. ISBN 9781101552902.

Roque presents more than 400 recipes from Latin America and Spain.

Health & fitness

Fernández, José. Salvando vidas: Cambia tus hábitos, cambia tu vida. C.A. Pr: Penguin. 2013. 224p. ISBN 9780142424728. pap. $16.95; ebk. ISBN 9780670016358.

Celebrity personal trainer Fernández shares easy, practical tips on nutrition, a healthy eating routine, and a customized exercise program for men and women.

OrangeReviewStar Spanish on our Shelves | Collection Development: Spanish Language MaterialsHuerta, Elmer. La salud ¡Hecho fácil! Consejos vitales para llegar a viejo ¡lo más joven posible! C.A. Pr: Penguin. 2012. 176p. ISBN 9780983139027. pap. $10.95; ebk. ISBN 9781101559406.

Tips on caring for one’s mental and physical health, including information on nutrition counseling, exercise, disease prevention, and ridding oneself of unhealthy habits.


OrangeReviewStar Spanish on our Shelves | Collection Development: Spanish Language MaterialsGaleano, Eduardo H. Las venas abiertas de América Latina. Siglo XXI. 2009. 380p. ISBN 9788432311451. pap. $26.95.

A classic historical work about Latin America that focuses on its cultural, social, and political economy from the beginning of colonization.

Linares, Albinson. El último rostro de Chávez. Sudaquia. 2014. 202p. ISBN 9781938978470. pap. $19.95.

Chronicle of controversial former Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez.


Publishers of popular original and translated manga and graphic novels to look for are Norma Editorial (, Ediciones Kraken (, and Ediciones La Cúpula (

OrangeReviewStar Spanish on our Shelves | Collection Development: Spanish Language MaterialsQuino. Toda Mafalda. De la Flor. 2000. 658p. ISBN 9789505156948. $86.95.

A six-year-old Argentine girl questions local and global social problems and politics in a way that is still relevant. This year is the 50th anniversary of the beloved character.


Gloria. color. 110 min. Lionsgate, 2014. DVD UPC 031398193135. $36.99.

Comedy from Chile about a lonely ­middle-aged woman who starts a passionate romance with a former naval officer.

El señor de los cielos. 2 vols. color. 1589 min. Universal Home Entertainment, 2014. $29.99.

A TV drama based on the life of Mexican drug lord Amado Carrillo Fuentes, whose fleet of aircraft trafficked drugs to the United States.

Viola. color. 65 min. Cinema Guild, 2014. DVD ISBN 9780781514484. $29.95.

This intriguing romance set in Buenos Aires tells the story of Viola, who joins a small Shakespeare theater company.

Web resources

America Reads Spanish (ARS)

A campaign to promote Spanish-language usage and reading in U.S. schools and libraries. Information in English about best sellers and new releases, as well as book reviews, e-catalogs, video interviews, and much more.

Libros de España/New Spanish Books

Includes current book reviews written by U.S. experts on new Spanish titles with rights available for translation in the United States. Information is in English.

REFORMA: The National Association To Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-Speaking

REFORMA, affiliated with ALA, serves as liaison to professional organizations, advocates Latino information needs, and recruits bilingual professionals for library services. Although membership is required, book reviews may be consulted for free.



To submit titles (new and/or backlist), contact Barbara Genco four to six months before issue dates listed above (email:


BajaLibros Reader. Free. iOS apps available for Mac, iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch 3G, Android apps for PC, tablets, and smartphones, Kindle Fire, and ereaders.

Reads ePUB and PDF content and supports ebooks protected by Adobe Content server. The app proposes the user find and purchase ebooks from major and independent publishers. Includes configurable settings such as font size, page margins, and brightness; also highlighting, annotations, and bookmarks.

De Lectura: Libros que leer. Free. For Android.

Reading and book title recommendations, literary criticism, book reviews, and a book club.



Baker & Taylor;

Standing orders, Spanish-language best sellers, translated authors published in the United States. Processing services available.

Bilingual Publications;

Listings from Latin America and Spain, all age levels, and hard-to-find subject searches. Processing and cataloging upon request. Book fair services.


Original and translated titles from Latin America and Spain, all age levels, monthly lists, cataloging, and book fair services.

Chulainn Publishing Corp.;

Designed selections lists, a new releases “Boletin,” customized invoices, standing orders, processing services, and cataloging upon ­request.

Girón Books;

Spanish materials for all ages from Latin American and U.S. publishers. Bilingual information on EAN (barcode) labels for easy interpretation.


Over 250,000 Spanish titles for all age levels. Opening-day collections, year-end spending, grants, curated ipage® lists, standing orders. Full cataloging and processing.

Latin American Book Source Inc.;

Expanded Spanish-language book selection by large and small publishers from Latin America and Spain. Book recommendations, approval plans, shelf-ready service, and more.


This exclusive U.S. representative of publishers from Spain and Latin America puts out a line of children’s books. Offers cataloging of children’s books and processing for all age levels.

Midwest Tape;

Over 10,000 Spanish-language DVDs, Blu-rays, audiobooks, and music albums. Processing, cataloging, and collection development services. Spanish-language digital materials through hoopla.

Multicultural Books & Videos (MCBV);

Easy access to books, DVDs, and CDs available originally from Latin America and Spain. Full-level MARC cataloging and shelf-ready processing.



Offers ebook periodicals and movie online collections and language and computer online instruction. Full cataloging services.


Over 9,000 titles in Spanish (ebooks, audiobooks, streaming video), more than 2,500 of them for the Kindle. Cataloging with several options for MARC records.


WT Cox;

Top Spanish-language magazine titles for public and school libraries.


Popular Spanish-language magazines published in Latin America, Spain, and the United States. Comprehensive subscription management platform (EBSCONET).

Latin-American Periodicals;

Over 800 Spanish-language magazine titles including fotonovelas. Customized packages for libraries.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.


Get connected. Join our global community of more than 200,000 librarians and educators.

Get access to 8000+ annual reviews of books, ebooks, and more

As low as $13.50/month