The Dominican Republic has one of the largest and varied print media industry in Central America and the Caribbean. The number of magazines and the new ones that are created on a yearly basis, the amount of native books and the new ones being published, the quantity of newspapers which includes the Caribbean most read could be mind-boggling to outsiders. Santo Domingo is also a major center in the Caribbean for publishing houses. In this article we will explore a small part of the print media in the Dominican Republic.
The Size of the Dominican Print Media Sub-Sector
As recent as 2020, the estimated size for the print media sub-sector in the Dominican Republic (not separating print from digital, though print is still the lion share compared to digital) was US$302 million. The sales of books amounted to US$186 million and of newspapers/magazines to US$116 million. By 2024 book sales are expected to reach US$187 million and newspapers/magazines US$120 million. In terms of readership, it’s expected that by 2026 it will rise to 6.5 million readers of newspapers/magazines and 3.9 million readers of books.
For the sake of comparison, total Dominican readers of newspapers, magazines and books will be greater than the entire populations of the Lesser Antilles and greater than the entire population of Puerto Rico. This will surpass the entire populations of countries such as Panama, Costa Rica, Uruguay, Bahamas or Jamaica among others. These figures don’t include the revenues of the Dominican publishing houses.
Most publishing houses in the Dominican Republic are in the Greater Santo Domingo area. Quite a few are also found in the interior of the country. In addition to printing books and magazines, they also print other things such as voting ballots, notebooks and notebooks with a personalized cover, flyers, etc. Their customer base is everything from individuals, companies, the Dominican government, religious institutions, etc. Here is a very limited list of the publishing houses in Santo Domingo.
The newspaper industry is the greatest it has ever been in the Dominican Republic. This is despite the industry is affected by modern technology and a declining readership of the physical newspapers. They have increased their online presence in an attempt in keeping and growing their customer base. The industry went through a model change upon the founding of Diario Libre. Until then, Dominican newspapers were for pay, but now an increasing number are free.
The amount of magazines in the Dominican market is surprisingly large and varied. They cover many topics. Some have a cover price while others are free. New magazines are created on a yearly basis. Others are international and have a Dominican Republic specific magazine or the Dominican Republic is included with other Central American countries.
The amount if books that are published in the Dominican Republic is astounding. Very easily this country has one of the most, if not the most books published in any given year in the Caribbean. The topics runnthe gamut from coffee table books to non-fiction, novels, historical events, the arts, etc. Unfortunately for much of the world, most Dominican books are available in the Dominican Republic only and they tend to be in Spanish only.
The following are only an extremely small sample of books.
Cuesta Libros: The largest Spanish-language bookstore in the Caribbean
The Dominican Republic has many bookstores in Santo Domingo and elsewhere in the country. Out of all these bookstores, Cuesta Libros is a notch above all of them. First, it’s the largest bookstore not just in the Dominican Republic, but the largest Spanish-language bookstore in the Caribbean. Its the only bookstore in the Dominican Republic that has more than one floor, so naturally the selection of Dominican and international books is the greatest. Second, it has whst is perhaps the most important forum for expositions and launching new books into the Dominican market by local and foreign authors. Many authors, Dominican and foreigners, dedicate the space to autographing their books owned by Dominican book readers. As of right now the store has two locations, one in Santo Domingo (images below) and another in Santiago de los Caballeros.
Librería Mamey: An enchanted bookstore in a colonial setting in Santo Domingo
In the Colonial City of Santo Domingo is Mamey, a small bookstore that also offers a café, cosy places to sit, relax and read a good book, and other stuff. There is a decidely leftist leaning to the place that could be a turnoff for neutral or conservative people. They have been in business since 2016.
Librería San Pablo – Santo Domingo
The Catholic library with stores in many countries has its Dominican Republic store in Santo Domingo. Many religious artefacts and books can be purchased there.
Sections Devoted to Books
In addition to bookstores, many Dominican hypermarkets and department stores have a small section where some books are for sale. This further increases the reach of books to the Dominican population.
Feria del Libro Santo Domingo
Every year as an act of support and encouragement for reading, the Dominican government helds the “Feria del Libro” or books fair. Various publishing houses, bookstores, institutions and representations from other countries in the Americas and Europe take part in presenting many of their books to the general public and many are sold. Some pavillions are simple while others are quite elaborate. Attending the book fair is free, open to all and lasting for several days. While this is the largest book fair of the Dominican Republic, other book fairs are yearly celebrated in the interior of the country.