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Stephen Sparks Goes Around the World with BTBA

Stephen Sparks is a buyer at Green Apple Books. He lives in San Francisco and blogs at Invisible Stories.


Poorly detailed Google map

With the longlist set to be announced in a matter of days—just this morning the judges received the (top secret!) results of our initial vote to narrow down all eligible books to a longlist—I thought it might be interesting to share some statistics about the list we were culling from.

Below is a list of books by country, as included on the BTBA spreadsheet. As usual, Western Europe is heavily represented, Africa and the Middle East are under-represented, and, largely owing to Dalkey’s Library of Korean Literature, I suspect (without comparing this list to previous years) that Asian literature, outside of China and Japan, which are generally well served, is better represented.

Of the surprises in these numbers, the one that stands out most to me—though I’m sure Michael Orthofer could help contextualize this—is the paucity of Indian books on the list. That we have just one book translated from Hindi seems to me curious. Are there any numbers here that surprise you?

COUNTRY NO. OF BOOKS
Albania 1
Algeria 4
Argentina 13
Austria 6
Azerbaijan 1
Belarus 1
Belgium 3
Brazil 8
Bulgaria 3
Cameroon 1
Canada 7
Chile 4
China 6
Colombia 1
Congo 1
Croatia 1
Cuba 4
Czech Republic 3
Denmark 9
Dominican Republic 1
Egypt 3
Finland 4
France 54
Germany 40
Greece 2
Guatemala 1
Haiti 1
Hungary 3
Iceland 6
India 1
Indonesia 4
Iran 3
Iraq 3
Ireland 1
Israel 13
Italy 27
Japan 15
Latvia 1
Lebanon 4
Lithuania 2
Mexico 3
Morocco 2
Mozambique 1
Netherlands 7
Norway 14
Oman 1
Peru 1
Poland 6
Portugal 2
Puerto Rico 2
Romania 3
Russia 19
Saudi Arabia 2
Slovenia 1
South Africa 1
South Korea 12
Spain 23
Sweden 24
Switzerland 6
Syrian Arab Republic 2
Taiwan 1
Togo 1
Turkey 11
Ukraine 1

In all, the BTBA committee has looked at books written in 39 languages—from Afrikaans to Yiddish, as you can see below.

Afrikaans
Arabic
Azerbaijani
Bulgarian
Catalan
Catalan
Chinese
Croatian
Czech
Danish
Dutch
Finnish
Flemish
French
German
Greek
Hebrew
Hindi
Hungarian
Icelandic
Indonesian
Irish
Italian
Japanese
Korean
Latvian
Lithuanian
Norwegian
Persian
Polish
Portuguese
Romanian
Russian
Slovenian
Spanish
Swedish
Turkish
Ukrainian
Yiddish



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