As the National Library of Paraguay gets a new Director, Paraguay’s publishing future is digital

Wilma Garcete took over as the Director of the National Library of Paraguay this week.

There’s not much information about the appointment other than it was made by the country’s Culture Minister, Rubén Capdevila, and other than as a new appointment the event itself is not especially newsworthy outside Paraguay.

I mention it here because Paraguay, a landlocked country in South America, little known in the outside world except perhaps for its long battle with dictatorship last century, and certainly not noted in the international publishing arena, is poised to become a significant player in the next decade.

Founded in 1887 the National Library of Paraguay epitomises Paraguay’s literary heritage, but little of that heritage has found its way beyond the Spanish-speaking world.

Being a landlocked country of 6.9 million people overshadowed by giants like Argentina brings its own challenges.

But connecting with the world digitally is not one of them.

Improbable as it may sound, landlocked Paraguay has the second highest internet penetration in South America at 89.6%, with 6 million of that 6.9 million population online.

In a digital world, no country is truly landlocked anymore, and Paraguayan authors have the opportunity to reach readers anywhere in the world, while readers around the world have unprecedented access to Paraguay’s authors.

Sadly it seems Paraguay’s publishers have yet to rise to the occasion and embrace digital.

But that’s just a matter of time.

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