This has been a year of surprises for the US, with respect to Puerto Ricans.
Back in February, a Puerto Rican won the Powerball in Ponce…and many Americans discovered that Puerto Ricans were US citizens, that the Euro was not the island’s currency, and that Puerto Ricans do pay taxes: more taxes than many North Americans.
In June, Governor Garcia Padilla announced that Puerto Rico’s “public debt” was not payable in its current form.
In July, three IMF economists published The Krueger Report: suggesting that the debt was payable…if Puerto Rico abandoned the minimum wage and re-enacted child labor laws throughout the island.
In August, the island said “Hell no!” to The Krueger Report. It also defaulted on a bond payment for the first time, in its 117-year history as a US colony.
This week, another shock rippled through the US publishing industry: for the fifth straight month, the book War Against All Puerto Ricans continues as a #1 Amazon Best Seller.
This prompted the New York Daily News to write that “War Against All Puerto Ricans has become the subject of political water-cooler talk, national TV and newspaper coverage – including a three-part series of articles in El Nuevo Día. The word on War is spreading.”
Suddenly War Against All Puerto Ricans is being published in hardcover and as an e-book.
An audio version drops on August 24.
And on November 24, the Spanish version of the book Guerra Contra Todos los Puertorriqueños is being released.
This is the first time that Perseus Books (the corporate parent of Nation Books) ever translates a book into Spanish. Evidently corporate America is discovering that Puerto Ricans – and Latinos in general – read books and care about their own history.
This should come as no surprise. A recent article in Publishers Weekly found that the Borders bookstore in Plaza Las Americas (in San Juan, PR) sold more books than any other bookstore in the entire Borders chain.
This one Borders store in Puerto Rico grossed $17 million in annual sales: the highest of all 512 Borders stores, in the entire world.
And so, the US publishing industry has 17 million reasons for knowing that Puerto Ricans read and buy books, in very large numbers. Yet somehow they’re surprised when a history book titled War Against All Puerto Ricans becomes a runaway best seller…in Puerto Rico.
It makes you want to laugh and cry, both at the same time.