Amazon Extends Publishing Arm to Childrens Books
USA- New York, NY | Dec 9 2011 | (03:00:04 - EDT)
Amazon hasexpanded its publishing ambitions by acquiring more than 450 titles from Marshall Cavendish Children’s Books, a niche publisher. Amazon has published several children’s books under its AmazonEncore imprint, but the acquisition represents Amazon’s first significant push into the category.
“This is our first attempt to get organized around a children’s books strategy,” Jeff Belle, the vice president for Amazon Publishing, said in an interview, adding that the company intended to convert all of the titles to e-books, a segment of the children’s market that has been slow to take off. “This is a case where there’s a great list of books that have not been digitized.”
Mr. Belle, who is based in Seattle, said Amazon Publishing did not have any children’s book editors on staff.
The titles acquired by Amazon, mostly picture books, are mainly small sellers, but the move is likely to add to the unease that has settled over the industry as Amazon has moved deeper into publishing. Barnes & Noble similarly unnerved publishers in 2002 when it acquired Sterling Publishing, which specialized in how-to and craft books and had a backlist of 4,500 titles.
Marshall Cavendish, a publisher of educational books and trade books, has its headquarters in Singapore and one office in Tarrytown, N.Y.
Lee Fei Chen, the group publisher of the Marshall Cavendish Corporation, said that the company would now focus on its core business in educational publishing. Margery Cuyler, the publisher of Marshall Cavendish Children’s Books, did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment.
The company has released picture books, middle-grade and young-adult books, with several books on Jewish themes among its list of new titles for 2011, including “The Golem’s Latkes.
One of its books, “My Name Is Not Easy,” by Debby Dahl Edwardson, was a finalist for a National Book Award in the young people’s literature category this year.
The more than 450 titles acquired by Amazon represent Marshall Cavendish’s entire backlist and newly released books.
Amazon Publishing has a half-dozen imprints, with specialties in romance, mystery, thrillers, science fiction and foreign language translations. Its New York arm, led by Laurence Kirshbaum, a former literary agent and editor, focuses on nonfiction, literary fiction and business books.
The new children’s titles will initially be published under an imprint carrying the Marshall Cavendish name. Terms of the deal were not disclosed; it is expected to be completed within six months.
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