Fondo de Cultura Económica
Fondo de Cultura Económica (FCE, Fondo) is the most important publishing house in Mexico and one of the most important in Latin America. It was originally established in 1934 by Daniel Cosío Villegas as a way to provide students of economics with books in Spanish on the subject. Little by little, FCE expanded its publishing areas to other subjects that today encompass almost everything, from children's literature to scientific texts. Fondo de Cultura Económica is a decentralized publishing institution funded by the Mexican government.
For more than 70 years, Fondo de Cultura Económica has been an active participant and protagonist of Mexican and Latin American literary and cultural history through its editors, authors, translations and books. Among those who have actively participated and influenced FCE's trajectory are names such as Alfonso Reyes, Juan Rulfo, Juan José Arreola, Octavio Paz, Carlos Fuentes, Jorge Luis Borges, Carlos Pellicer, Raimundo Lida, José Gorostiza, Alí Chumacero, and Salvador Elizondo, together with many others.
Collections of books published by FCE
FCE's backlist encompasses more than 7,000 volumes, among which 5,000 (approx.) are still being published or reprinted. This great cultural wealth is grouped in many book collections, among which are:
- A la Orilla del Viento
- Colección Popular
- La Ciencia para Todos
- Letras Mexicanas
FCE also publishes the following periodicals: El Trimestre Económico (an economic studies academic periodical), Diánoia (a philosophical studies academic periodical), La Gaceta del Fondo de Cultura Económica (articles about or around its books and authors, edited in México as well as in Colombia), Lecturas, and its Boletín de Novedades (news bulletin).
Recognitions and awards
As an institution, FCE has earned the Prince of Asturias Award in Media and Humanities in 1989, as well as the "Premio FILIJ del Libro" bestowed by the Mexican culture ministry for children's books in 1992. In 1993, FCE received the Premio Laurel de Oro (bestowed by the city of Madrid), a mention in the "Premio Juan García Bacca", awarded by the Association for Peruvian Culture, and the "Calendario Azteca de Oro" ("Golden Aztec Calendar"), granted by the Association of Mexican TV and Radio Journalists.
- (1934–1947) Daniel Cosío Villegas
- (1948–1965) Arnaldo Orfila Reynal
- (1966–1970) Salvador Azuela
- (1970–1972) Antonio Carrillo Flores
- (1972–1974) Francisco Javier Alejo
- (1974–1976) Guillermo Ramírez Hernández
- (1977–1982) José Luis Martínez
- (1983–1988) Jaime García Terrés
- (1989–1990) Enrique González Pedrero
- (1990–2000) Miguel de la Madrid Hurtado
- (2000–2002) Gonzalo Celorio Blasco
- (2002–2008) Consuelo Sáizar Guerrero
- (2008-2013) Joaquín Díez-Canedo Flores
- (2013-) José Carreño Carlón
On September 4, 1992, the then CEO of FCE, Miguel de la Madrid Hurtado, inaugurated its new central office, situated on the Picacho-Ajusco highway in Mexico City. Surrounded by gardens, the central office also has a cultural annex for lectures and events named after Jesús Silva Herzog, a library that keeps and maintains a copy of every book FCE has published for free consultation, and a bookstore named after Alfonso Reyes.
Besides its central office in Mexico, FCE has foreign branches in:
- Buenos Aires (Argentina, 1945)
- Bogotá (Colombia)
- São Paulo (Brazil, 1991)
- Lima (Peru, 1975)
- Caracas (Venezuela, 1974)
- Guatemala City (Guatemala and Central America, 1995)
- Santiago (Chile, 1954)
- San Diego (USA, 1990) FCE USA
- Madrid (Spain, 1963)
FCE also has representative offices in: Bolivia, Canada, Ecuador, Honduras, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, besides having distribution partners in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama and Uruguay.
FCE has its very own chain of bookstores. There are 21 FCE Bookstores in Mexico and 11 in the rest of the Spanish-speaking world, in which FCE sells and distributes books of its own production and those of many other publishing houses.
Awards granted by FCE
Every so often, FCE holds the following contests:
- The A la Orilla del Viento Picture Book Contest, annually;
- The Mexican and Latin American contest Leamos La Ciencia para Todos (Spanish for "Let's read 'Science for Everyone [a series of books about science]'"), biannually.
- The "Económica" ("economic" in Spanish) part of FCE's name does not refer to the intended prices of its books. Rather, its founders initially thought that it would only publish books on the subject of economics.
- Even though it has been proved wrong by academic investigators time and time again, the following story is still told: When Juan Rulfo handed the original manuscript of his novel Pedro Páramo to Juan José Arreola, so that he would take it to Alí Chumacero (then the Editor-In-Chief of FCE), Arreola tripped with the steps on the entrance to the central office and dropped the manuscript, thus confusing the page order of the manuscript which was then printed that way.
References and sources
- According to numbers and data published by the Cámara Nacional de la Industria Editorial Mexicana (CANIEM) (Spanish) which tracks Mexican publishing statistics, in its report for the year 2004, FCE's title production of new titles and reprintings, represented 4.7% of all books published in Mexico (690 titles out of a national total of 14,726) for all types of books measured (textbooks, general interest, scientific and religion). Among all the other Mexican publishing houses (216), none other reached the range of 2% in this same measurement. The numbers are very similar in account of number of books printed: FCE produced, that same year (2004), around 4.8 million books against a total of 101 million (Mexican national total). It is to be noted that these numbers do not take into account the titles and books produced by FCE's foreign branches. The documentation and numbers that the CANIEM publishes are payment restricted.
- "Crecimiento de Fondo" (article in Spanish), by Mexican Vértigo magazine, México. Monday, Sept. 18th, 2006. (Spanish)
- Various, Catálogo histórico 2005, Mexico: FCE, 2006. (Spanish)
- "About us", Fondo de Cultura Económica Argentina. (Spanish)
- Interview with Alberto Vital, Rulfian specialist in El Clarín (Argentinian newspaper): "...not Alí Chumacero not Juan José Arreola not Antonio Alatorre nor anyone else "helped" Rulfo write and or "structure" Pedro Páramo."
- Díaz Arciniegas, Víctor, Historia de la casa. Fondo de Cultura Económica (1934-1994), Mexico: FCE, 1994. (Spanish)
- Pacheco, Cristina, En el primer medio siglo del Fondo de Cultura Económica. Testimonios y conversaciones, Mexico: FCE, 1984. (Spanish)
- Various, Fondo de Cultura Económica. Memoria editorial 1990-2000, Mexico: FCE, 2000. (Spanish)
- Various, Catálogo histórico 1934-2004, Mexico: FCE, 2005. (Spanish)
- Fondo de Cultura Económica (Spanish)
- FCE USA (English)
- FCE Argentina (Spanish)
- FCE Chile (Spanish)
- FCE Colombia (Spanish)
- FCE Spain (Spanish)
- FCE Guatemala and Central America (Spanish)
- FCE Peru (Spanish)
- FCE Venezuela (Spanish)
- FCE's Libraries (Spanish)
- FCE's Press office (Spanish)
- This article draws heavily on the corresponding article in the Spanish-language Wikipedia, which was accessed in the version of December 12, 2006.