Amazon Publishing is Amazon.com's book publishing unit launched in 2009. It is composed of a number of imprints including AmazonEncore, AmazonCrossing, Montlake Romance, Thomas & Mercer, 47 North, and Powered by Amazon. As of 2013, the publisher is Daphne Durham, a long-time Amazon employee based in Seattle.
List of imprints
|AmazonEncore||May 2009||Out-of-print or self-published books rediscovered.|
|AmazonCrossing||May 2010||Books in translation|
|Montlake Romance||May 2011||Romance|
|Thomas & Mercer||May 2011||Mysteries and thrillers|
|47North||October 2011||Science fiction, fantasy, horror|
|The Domino Project||December 2010||Founded by Seth Godin; short books by "thought leaders"||A "Powered by Amazon" imprint. Godin decided to end the imprint in November 2011.|
|New Harvest||January 2012||General adult titles||Via Amazon Publishing's East Coast Group run by Larry Kirshbaum. New Harvest is distributed by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. See further info below.|
|Amazon Publishing||Nonfiction, Memoirs, and General Fiction|
|Grand Harbor Press||December 2012||Spirituality and Self-Discovery||A division of Brilliance Audio, owned by Amazon|
|Amazon Children's Publishing||January 2013||Young Adult and Children's Picture Books||Composed of two imprints: Two Lions and Skyscape|
|Little A||March 2013||Literary fiction|
|Jet City Comics||July 2013||Comic books and graphic novels|
|Day One||October 2013||Weekly digital literary magazine|
|Lake Union Publishing||Contemporary and Historical Fiction, Memoir, and Popular Nonfiction|
|Waterfall Press||Christian Nonfiction and Fiction|
In May 2009, Amazon launched AmazonEncore, the inaugural flagship general imprint. It publishes titles that have gone out-of-print or self-published books with sales potential. The first book published under this imprint was Cayla Kluver's Legacy in August 2009. Other early books published by AmazonEncore include Mercury Falls by Robert Kroese, Shaken by J.A. Konrath, The Grove by John Rector and A Scattered Life by Karen McQuestion.
AmazonCrossing was announced in May 2010, for translated works into English. The first translated books were the French-language novel The King of Kahel and the German-language novel The Hangman's Daughter which were released in November and December 2010, respectively.
In May 2011, Amazon launched two genre-focused imprints, Montlake Romance, and Thomas & Mercer. Montlake Romance is an imprint for the romance genre; "Romance is one of our biggest and fastest growing categories, particularly among Kindle customers," said Jeff Belle, vice president of Amazon Publishing. Thomas & Mercer is for mystery titles.
Powered by Amazon is a self-publishing platform that allows the publication of a series of books under any imprint name. For example, in May 2011, Seth Godin launched The Domino Project, an imprint created to publish a series of manifestos. It was the inaugural Powered by Amazon imprint project. Godin decided to end the imprint in November 2011, the 12 previously published titles would still be sold at Amazon, but no new books would be published. Also in May, it was announced Amazon had hired Larry Kirshbaum, former CEO of Time Warner Book Group, to head a new general-interest imprint. In October, Amazon launched a science-fiction/fantasy/horror imprint called 47 North. In December, Amazon Publishing acquired over 450 titles of Marshall Cavendish's US Children’s trade books business, Marshall Cavendish Children's Books (MCCB).
In January 2012, it was revealed that Amazon Publishing's New York publishing arm, called "Amazon Publishing's East Coast Group" (run by Larry Kirshbaum), made a deal with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt to sell books under a pseudonym imprint called New Harvest. New Harvest only included books from Amazon Publishing, and the books had a New Harvest imprint on the spine. This allowed Amazon to sell books at retailers like Barnes & Noble, which otherwise had disallowed Amazon imprints in its stores. Barnes & Noble however later announced it would not stock any Amazon imprints, including New Harvest, a move mirrored by other book stores which have also banned Amazon imprints from their stores. One of the inaugural titles published by New Harvest was Jeff, One Lonely Guy, by Jeff Ragsdale, released on March 20, 2012.
In June 2012, Amazon purchased Avalon Books, a small 62-year-old publisher that specializes in romance and mysteries with a back-list of around 3,000 titles. The books will be published under Amazon’s imprints based in Seattle. In November, it was announced that Laurence Kirshbaum's position would expand to include "editorial leadership for the Seattle and New York adult imprints, as well as Amazon Children's Publishing."  In addition it was announced that Amazon would be opening a new European publishing division, which will focus on "expanding the English-language audience through its English-language bookstores in the U.K., Germany, France, Italy, and Spain." Vicky Griffith, formerly publisher of the Seattle imprints, will be the new EU publisher. In December 2012, Brilliance Audio, a division of Amazon, announced the creation of a publishing imprint called Grand Harbor Press which will focus on original self-help and inspirational hardcover, paperback and e-books.
In January 2013, Amazon announced two children's and young adult imprints. The first imprint is called Two Lions, featuring picture books, chapter books, and middle-grade fiction. The second imprint is called Skyscape, publishing fiction for young adults. In March, Amazon announced a New York-based literary fiction imprint that will publish novels, short stories and memoir. Called Little A, it was initially overseen by senior editor Ed Park. Amazing Publishing launched its comic book and graphic novel imprint, Jet City Comics, on July 9. Jet City Comics will be adapting existing books into comics for Kindle e-reader and print.
In October 2013, Amazon Publishing announced a new weekly digital literary magazine called Day One. The magazine focused on short fiction and poetry, including works from new authors and foreign authors in English translation. Each issue looked at one fiction writer and one poet each week, including a short story and poem with each issue. The issues were accessed through Kindle devices. Issues contained an introductory essay about a writer, author interviews, illustrations and playlists. The phrase "Day One" has often been used by Bezos in annual reports to shareholders as a way to experiment and fight complacency: "This is still Day 1."
In January 2014, Laurence Kirshbaum left the company. According to Publishers Weekly, "Under his direction, Amazon Publishing has had a difficult time gaining traction in the marketplace and failed to deliver any major bestsellers. In addition to the lackluster performance of the group, Kirshbaum drew unwanted attention this summer when a lawsuit was filed against him for sexual assault." Kirshbaum was replaced by Daphne Durham who has spent her entire career at Amazon and is based in Seattle.
In March, 2014, Amazon Publishing opened a German-language department based in Munich under the direction of publisher Sarah Tomashek. According to Amazon, the "European Amazon Publishing team will acquire German-language fiction for publication in Kindle and print editions available on Amazon websites."
During the 1999 Christmas season, Amazon leased the rights to a defunct imprint called Weathervane. This was Amazon's first attempt at publishing. The titles included Christmas recipe books and others without much market appeal, they were the "creatures from the black lagoon of the remainder table" according to a former employee James Marcus. The imprint soon disappeared, and according to "representatives at [Amazon] today claim never to have heard of [Weathervane]."
In a 2014 article in The New Yorker, George Packer writes that nearly all of Amazon Publishing's books have under-performed. For example, it purchased two high profile books at auction including Timothy Ferriss' The 4-Hour Chef for 1 million dollars, which did worse than his previous titles; and My Mother Was Nuts, a memoir by Penny Marshall, for eight-hundred thousand dollars, which only sold seventeen thousand copies. Actors Anonymous, a novel by James Franco, has sold fewer than five thousand copies. Packer says "In the past year [2012-2013], Amazon Publishing has barely been a presence at auctions, and several editors have departed; last month [January 2014], Kirshbaum left the company, having failed at the task Amazon gave him." Reasons given for the poor performance include: bookstores which refuse to carry Amazon titles since Amazon is a direct competitor; incompetence as a publisher (as one New York publisher said about Amazon, "There are certain things it takes to be a publisher. You have to have luck, but you also have to have judgment, discernment."); and Amazon's culture of machines, algorithms and mass products which don't fit well with the publishing world's emphasis on human networking and reputation.
- Seth Godin Ends the Domino Project, MediaBistro, November 29, 2011.
- Minzesheimer, Bob (3 Feb 2010). "Amazon gives the self-published a second life". USA Today. Retrieved 6 May 2013.
- "Introducing AmazonEncore", Amazon Press Release, May 13, 2009
- "AmazonEncore Announces Fall 2010 Publishing List". BusinessWire. 8 Jun 2010. Retrieved 6 May 2013.
- "Amazon Launches Translation Imprint, AmazonCrossing". Publishers Weekly. May 19, 2010. Retrieved July 11, 2013.
- "Introducing AmazonCrossing", Amazon Press Release, May 18, 2010
- "Amazon Announces a Second Publishing Imprint Focused on Translating Foreign-Language Books into English". Phx.corporate-ir.net. Retrieved 2011-08-04.
- "Amazon Thrusts into Romance Publishing", PCMag, May 5, 2011.
- "Amazon Starts Mystery Imprint Thomas & Mercer ", Publishers Weekly, May 18, 2011
- How many imprints does Amazon run?, Jenn Webb, O'Reilly, May 18, 2011.
- "Amazon Publishing Launches Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Imprint, 47North", Amazon press release, via Business Wire on DailyFinance.com, Oct 11, 2011
- "Amazon Publishing to Acquire Marshall Cavendish US Children’s Books Titles". Business Wire. 2011-12-06.
- "B&N to Restore Marshall Cavendish Titles to Stores". Publishers Weekly. April 4, 2013. Retrieved July 11, 2013.
- "HMH in Deal with Amazon for Adult Titles", Jim Milliot and Judith Rosen, Publishers Weekly, Jan 24, 2012.
- Dennis Loy Johnson, "Issuing a defiant statement, B&N joins indies in banning books published by Amazon", Melville House Publishing, February 1, 2012.
- Dennis Loy Johnson, "Two more giant retailers join boycott of books published by Amazon", Melville House Publishing, February 5, 2012.
- Condy, Barrett (June 5, 2012). "Innovate or Get Spanked: Lessons from 'Fifty Shades of Grey'". Forbes. Retrieved March 18, 2015.
- "Larry Kirshbaum Head of Amazon Publishing New York Imprint Speaks at Stonybrook Southampton College". April 16, 2012. Retrieved May 31, 2012.
- Julia Bosman (June 4, 2012). "Amazon Buys Avalon Books, Publisher in Romance and Mysteries". New York Times. Retrieved June 4, 2012.
- Staff writer (Nov 28, 2012). "Amazon Publishing to Expand in Europe, Kirshbaum Takes Larger U.S. Role". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved December 2, 2012.
- "Brilliance Audio Enters Print and E-book Market with New Imprint". Publishers Weekly. December 18, 2012. Retrieved July 10, 2013.
- Shannon Maughan (January 21, 2013). "Amazon Children's Publishing Names Two New Imprints". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved July 10, 2013.
- "Amazon Publishing Debuts Literary Fiction Imprint, Little A". Publishers Weekly. March 15, 2013. Retrieved July 11, 2013.
- Laura Hazard Owen (March 15, 2013). "Amazon Publishing launches literary fiction imprint, Little A". Paid Content. Retrieved July 10, 2013.
- Clark, Noelene.Amazon launches comics imprint, featuring George R.R. Martin. July 09, 2013. Hero Complex column at LA Times. Retrieved on July 10, 2013.
- "Amazon Launches ‘Day One’ Digital Literary Journal". Publishers Weekly. October 30, 2013. Retrieved November 6, 2013.
- George Packer (February 17, 2014). "Cheap Words". The New Yorker. Retrieved February 11, 2014.
- "Kirshbaum to Leave Amazon Publishing". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved February 14, 2014.
- "Amazon Starts German-Language Publishing Program". Publishers Weekly. March 12, 2014. Retrieved March 13, 2014.
- Amazon Publishing, official website
- "The Truth About Amazon Publishing", Laura Hazard Owen, PaidContent.org, Nov 2, 2011.
- "Uncovering Amazon Publishing", David Streitfeld, New York Times, November 4, 2011.