Amazon runs a number of notable imprints that focuses specifically on one genre. 47North specializes in Fantasy and Science-Fiction and Montlake publishes romance titles. Amazon signs authors to one of their imprints who sell lots of ebooks on their Kindle Direct Publishing platform or they bid on the rights to the book by a debut or notable author at big events like Book Expo America or London Book Fair. All of the Amazon imprints appeal to a wide array of readers, which is mind boggling that they are planning on launching Topple Books which is spearheaded by Jill Soloway, who is the creator of Transparent. Topple is going to specialize in works by women of color, as well as writers who identify as queer and/or gender nonconforming. I think this imprint is doomed from the start.
Topple is looking to segregate black woman and people who have a different sexual preference to to their own imprint. Instead of these writers standing side by side with all other authors on their own merit, Topple wants to marginalize them. Lets have all the black women and queers all in one place, they don’t deserve to be published anywhere else, is what Topple is basically saying.
“We live in a complicated, messy world where every day we have to proactively re-center our own experiences by challenging privilege,” Soloway said in a statement. “With Topple Books we’re looking for those undeniably compelling essential voices so often not heard.”
If Amazon launched a dedicated imprint for white males and refused to publish anything by Asians or people of color, it would create a media firestorm and people would say they are non-inclusive. Somehow an imprint focused on women of color and gender bending issues is somehow ok? Lets forget the editor has done two popular shows for the Prime Video Service and Amazon wants to lock her up for the long term. Topple Books sole existence is to marginalize and galvanize, setting a dangerous precedent and I hope that they never publish a single book.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and Verge.