Jeff Belle, VP of Amazon Publishing recently sent a memo to literary agents outlining the companies intentions for 2014. Hiring more people is a key element with 70 people earmarked for positions in Seattle, New York, Luxembourg, London, and Munich.
Expansion out of North America is one of the primary vehicles Amazon is employing to publish more books and rope in more authors. Recently they signed a publishing deal in Germany to put out over 200 titles this year . “We’ve been delighted with the reader response to the German translations released by Amazon Publishing, and are excited to have Publisher Sarah Tomashek and her team in Munich supporting our efforts to bring great works written in German to a wider audience,” said Jorrit Van der Meulen, Vice President of Kindle, EU.
The United Kingdom is another strong growth sector for Amazon. The company plans to roll out 500 titles this year from local authors and simultaneous releases from US based books. Amazon has playing an active role in bidding on upcoming titles and making acquisitions. They recently made a five-figure deal at auction for Cath Quinn’s thriller The Thief Taker, through Sheil Land Associates agent Piers Blofeld, and a deal for Mark Edwards and Louise Voss’ From the Cradle, through Sam Copeland at Rogers, Coleridge & White.
Amazon Publishing currently has 15 different imprints that span every single genre. In order to build demand for their upcoming titles the company launched the Kindle First program late last year. It allows Prime members to download pre-publication eBooks for the paltry price of $1.99. This not only appeals to bookworms, but also people who want to beat the competition for comprehensive book reviews.
Getting books published by Amazon into readers hands has been a tricky proposition. Barnes and Noble outright refused to stock any of their print books in their bookstores and Indigo in Canada followed suit. Many agents and industry veterans see big problems with the largest online bookseller disrupting the traditional publishing industry. Still, some of the books published under the Amazon imprints sell really well. Helen Bryan, author of historical novels War Brides (2012) and The Sisterhood (2013), has become the second Amazon Publishing author to sell one million copies in combined print, audio, and Kindle editions worldwide. In July 2013, Amazon Publishing author Oliver Pötzsch crossed the one million copy threshold with his critically acclaimed Hangman’s Daughter series.