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Pinto Books: From Economist and Consulate to Publisher

abstract:It has been a while since I met Jorge Pinto at the Stanford Professional Publishing course in Palo Alto, California. His distinguished looks, meticulous dress, soft-spoken nature and unassuming demeanour belied an illustrious career in academia, the law, economics, foreign relations and business. At the time, Jorge had just launched his own independent publishing house, Pinto Books specializing in his four areas of interest and expertise: the re-issue of heady out-of-print classics, art books and illustrated books, and books translated from his native Spanish language. He now adds to that an interest in translating Chinese language fiction and has been making connections to the East in both publishing directions: through acquisition and translation, and via marketing and distribution. His relationship with books began when he was on the board of Latin America’s paramount commercial publishing house: Fondo de Cultura Económica de México. Of note, hee has had great success in marketing and sales using first-adaptor technology such as applications for iPhones. Discover this unique polyglot visionary who continues to inspire with his world vision and unquenchable appetite to learn.


January 25, 2009
As an economist Pinto writes columns syndicated to about a dozen publications. Academically, he has held management positions at Pace University's Lubin School of Business and acted as Chief of Staff to the Provost of México University. In foreign relations, he was the Mexican Ambassador to Lithuania (1991-1994). In technology, he is a first-adaptor and is developing publishing applications for the iPhone. He sits on the Board of Apple’s photographic software program, Aperture. An art lover with an important collection, Jorge began to collect various artists and produce art books to which he has had great success in marketing and sales.

Browsing the PINTO BOOKS website, I feel like a little girl in a candy shop. I can’t make up my mind which of the books I want to own. In the REDISCOVERED BOOKS section I am intrigued by the biography of Stendl, “Stendhal Or the Pursuit of Happiness 
by Matthew Josephson. Stendhal was “a soldier, a man of fortune, a great lover, a society wit, a diplomat, a traveler, and even, sometimes, a revolutionary conspirator…” who lived during the French Revolution, the most influential turning point in the European continent, a social order which spread to America. "Fifty years after his death he becomes one of the demigods of the world's letters, taking his place in the ranks of the great social writers who appeared toward the end of the last century… who has fascinated whole regiments of literary scholars in France, Italy, and Germany,” writes Josephson. Josephson was an experienced stockbroker and businessman who wrote poetry and extensive biographies (Zola, Rousseau, Victor Hugo, Stendhal, and Edison) essays on political issues, newspaper articles, and personal chronicles (Life Among the Surrealists: A Memoir). Today he is best known as the author of The Robber Barons.

Illustrated Books: I have had the pleasure of thumbing the collection of illustrated books Instructoart, Lesson 1 and The Life and Death of Bling Bling by Matthew Vescovo, both books and the artists series, Víctor Rodríguez a Mexican realistic painter living in New York. In fact, having lunch at Jorge’s multi-story apartment off 5th Avenue my favorite of Rodriquez’ works are hanging in all its huge post-modern glory taking up an entire exposed brick wall. Jorge’s flair for marketing recognized that the MTV video spots of Vescovo’s cartoons as well as the Christmas distribution of copies of Rodriquez’ art book to the shareholders of Deutsche Bank would both ensure wide targeted exposure for his books and artists.

I haven’t seen “In This Place | En Este Lugar” a photography collection by Alfredo De Stéfano. But I know he is considered one of 
México´s most important contemporary photographers. He has a passion 
for the landscape and especially the desert.

Pablo Helguera is a visual artist living in New York. He has written a Manual of Contemporary Art Style the cover to which looks like the editor’s bible, The Chicago Style. He says, "The Manual is an autobiography of sorts, documenting the anecdotes, behind-the-scenes maneuvers, and interactions that I have observed in the art world over the years. But it also seeks to show the ways in which we all conform to regulated patterns of behavior in order to be admitted into the high spheres of the contemporary art scene. In the art world, we all are performers, and here I tried to describe some parts of our unspoken script".

If one can say that to know a writer, one must study his books, it is equally true that to know a publisher you can study his body of published works. Through all of his books, there is a multi-colored thread sewn-in by Jorge Pinto. These books represent his interests in philosophy and identity, his background in finance and world economics, his tastes in art and literature and even his sense of humor. In reading the biographies of some of the artists, I even imagine the connection he’s made in the physical world: painter Jean Wolf did her MFA at Hunter College which is a subway stop away from Jorge’s house. He undoubtedly attended a student art show, discovered her and contributed to her career with shows in Mexico where he has connections to galleries. Like Rodriquez, I’m sure he owns several of her paintings, possibly the one adorning the cover of her book.

LINKS accessed Feb 5th, 2009 Since its inception five years ago, Jorge Pinto Books has established itself as an innovative interdisciplinary publisher. Agent/editor Andrea Montejo and authors Anthony de Palma, Pablo Helguera, and Paula Campos will discuss the challenges facing small-niche multicultural publishing houses in the publishing industry today.

Free admission. To make a reservation click here or send an email to:

Americas Society is the premier organization dedicated to education, debate and dialogue in the Americas. Established by David Rockefeller in 1965, our mission is to foster an understanding of the contemporary political, social and economic issues confronting Latin America, the Caribbean, and Canada, and to increase public awareness and appreciation of the diverse cultural heritage of the Americas and the importance of the inter-American relationship.

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