This presentation is a personal story that traces the world of Spanish language books in New York City. This experience will allow us to understand how, in the past 30 years, the Spanish book market has passed from moments of splendor to almost total disappearance from the bookstores that were once key places of reference for libraries, universities, and the general public. Today, the Librería Barco de Papel is the only bookstore that remains afloat, although not without challenges. Ramón Caraballo, bookseller for more than a decade, has been involved in the dissemination of Hispanic culture and has figured out how to turn his small bookstore into a center of cultural reference where all voices are included.
Ramón Caraballo was born in Habana, Cuba, and is the founder of the Librería Barco de Papel in New York, where he has lived since the 1990s. Ramón entered into the world of books starting with Lectorum, the now out of business bookstore where he worked for several years. In addition, he pioneered the sale of Spanish books on the streets of Queens, something that years later was copied by dozens of people in all Hispanic neighborhoods of New York. In 2003 he decided to start his own bookstore, which has become a model of the dissemination of Hispanic culture, first for children and later for adults as well.