Joshua Finnell
May 1, 2015 · 4 min read

Independent Publishers at the 28th International Book Fair of Bogotá

This year, I was invited by ProColombia, the Colombian Book Chamber, and Bogotá’s Chamber of Commerce to attend the 28th International Book Fair of Bogotá (La Feria Internacional del Libro de Bogotá — FILBO) as a special guest librarian.

FILBO is an international trade fair that gathers professionals of the editorial sector and the general public year after year to promote the wholesale and retail sales of products and services of the value chain of the industry. The International Book Fair of Bogota was born in 1987 after identifying the need of a professional trade fair to develop a massive campaign to promote reading through a cultural program of national and international interest with an organized exhibition of national and international editorial companies. This trade fair is one of the most representative cultural events of Colombia that is also recognized internationally and is one of the events of highest level and importance in Latin America.

In my role as a liaison librarian for Modern Languages at Denison University, I develop library collections in German, French, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, and Spanish. Though much of my collection development efforts are completed through acquisition vendors like YBP (recently acquired by EBSCO), foreign language materials often require brokering approval plans and standing orders with third-party distributors like The Latin American Bookstore.

Having attended the Guadalajara International Book Fair two years ago, I had already brokered relationships with some of the major publishers and distributors of Spanish language materials, such as Puvill Libros, so in Bogotá I focused on independent presses specializing in fiction, poetry, and book arts.

Here is a brief overview of just a few of the outstanding independent presses operating in Bogotá.

Rey + Naranjo is a design studio and publisher led by a photographer (Carolina Rey) and a graphic designer (John Naranjo). Their company is fueled by a belief in Colombia as a place of great opportunity in education and reading as a weapon against inequality. R + N also has a special partnership with Ediciones Sinsentido (Nonsense), a leading publisher in Spanish literary comics.

Garden (Jardin) publications is an independent publisher focused on young Colombian artists based in Bogotá, Colombia. The publishing house was founded in 2010 by Andrea Triana and Kevin Simon Mancera.

Garden currently has the support of Juan Peláez, an artist who has been working for some years in editorial design with graphic designer, Julian Cardozo.

Laguna Colombian Books is an independent publisher of art books and literature. Their publishing interests focus on the intersection of history, memory and fiction. Edited by Felipe González Espinosa, Laguna has published works by José Felix Fuenmayor and José Antonio Osorio Lizarazo.

Silhouette (La Silueta Ediciones) is a design studio and a publishing house. They publish art, photography, illustrated books and graphic novels among other works, and seek to promote research, development and visibility for Colombian authors.

Moon Books (Luna Libros) is an independent publishing house based in Bogotá, Colombia. Publishing both translations and works originally written in Spanish, Moon Books specializes in books of poetry, creative non-fiction essays, and fiction.


Joshua Finnell

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librarian. joshuafinnell.com

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