Amazon’s traditional publishing arm has grown at an incredible rate to include a wide variety of genre-based imprints. Its Kindle Singles platform, which focuses on long-form journalism, has seen probably the most surprising growth, indicating that an increasing number of readers are going back to the once-revered essay-length publications that were often serialized in journals, magazines, and newspapers.
Now, capitalizing on the growing popularity of these digital only publications, Amazon Publishing has announced its newest imprint for biographies, Icons. Its first title is due out in December of this year and kicks off with one of the most iconic figures in history, Jesus Christ.
While Jesus is undoubtedly a tough act to follow, the first series of ten titles will include other noted biographies: Alfred Hitchcock, Josef Stalin, David Lynch, Ernest Hemmingway, Edgar Allen Poe, Lucien Freud, JD Salinger, Vincent Van Gogh, and Hannah Arendt.
One of the goals of the Icons imprint is to highlight important life stories as written by well-known authors. This latest Amazon launch may prove that Amazon’s founder, Jeff Bezos, has an eye on more than just commerce and instead is working to celebrate educational, insightful reading for devoted non-fiction readers.
Critics have already argued over Amazon’s choice of names for this inaugural line-up, noting that only one woman was represented. Amazon’s point in the selection was that they chose the authors of these biographies, and not the subjects. By focusing on celebrated authors to pen these titles, Amazon allowed the authors to select biography subjects whom they were passionate about, rather than assigning them book report-style. More titles will be forthcoming after this series launches, so there will certainly be a larger scale of subjects to choose from.