Amazon launches Spanish-language Kindle store

Hoping to tap into a new U.S. audience whose first language is Spanish, Amazon (s AMZN) today launched “eBooks Kindle en Español,” which carries 30,000 e-books in Spanish — including an exclusive title by Paulo Coelho — and offers Spanish-language customer support.
Amazon says that eBooks Kindle en Español offers “the most Spanish-language bestsellers, as measured by Nielsen.” That includes “all of of the Spanish-language Nielsen best sellers available as e-books in the United States, and 65 of the top-100 Spanish-language print best sellers from” Bestselling Brazilian author Paulo Coelho is offering a $1.99 nonfiction title, El Libro de los Manuales, exclusively through the store.
In addition, the store offers “compilations of articles from El Pais, including exclusive pieces from Mexican journalists writing about Mexican current affairs,” and subscriptions to Latin American newspapers. And Amazon has translated nine Kindle Singles into Spanish.
While Spanish speakers still make up a small percent of the U.S. e-book reading population, the area is growing fast. It is also an area of concentration for Amazon competitor Barnes & Noble (s BKS). Last year, B&N’s Patricia Arancibia said the company’s sales of foreign-language e-books were growing faster than sales of English e-books, and “it’s one area where we completely win over any competitor.” (Obviously, Amazon hopes that will no longer be the case.) Barnes & Noble’s Nook Books en Español appears to contain 45,293 titles today — a larger number of titles than eBooks Kindle en Español carries.