Amazon hired publishing veteran Larry Kirshbaum to run their new trade imprint. For those who are not "plugged in" Larry Kirshbaum is a huge name in publishing. He was the CEO of Time Warner Publishing (later bought by big-six giant Hachette Book Group). This shows just how serious Amazon is in becoming a major player in the publishing arena.
I know there are Amazon detractors out there (something btw I've never understood). But there are few companies I can think of who have so consistently performed well with the decisions they have made. Just a few examples:
- Kindle continues to dominate the device world
- Amazon continues to dominate the online book buying world
- AmazonEncore - more in a minute
Still, even with that I didn't see anything mind blowing in the sales figures put out by people signed with them. Karen McQuestion and Joe Konrath have had some success but nowhere near where I think they should have been.
I attribute a lot of this to the fact that they weren't fully committed (i.e. taking publishing seriously) through Encore. In many ways I look at Encore as them testing the waters and dipping their toes. By hiring Kirshenbaum they are putting the publishing world on notice that they are coming, and their bringing some big guns.
Even more telling, is what they plan on publishing. So far Amazon has announced:
- Montlake (May 04) - for Romance Titles
- Thomas and Mercer (May 18) - for Mystery and Thriller
- Unamed - Scifi (and presumably Fantasy)
For those who missed my other post on this it was actually Amazon who put out the winning bid on Hocking's series (reports say they bested the $2 million offer by at least 500,000 but Amanda and her agent didn't like the restrictive terms of the deal so they went with St. Martin's Press). But this shows their willingness to shell out some considerable bucks and with Kirsenbaum at the helm I expect to see them going after big fish authors.
Speaking of authors, one of the first in the new Amazon offerings will be Stirred a collaborative novel by Joe Konrath and Blake Crouch which will be the final installment to both of their long running series. Anyone who reads Joe's Newbies Guide to Publishing knows that he's smart when it comes to his career and he's critical about traditional publishing in general. The fact that these two have signed make me suspect that Thomas and Mercer have a more "author friendly" contract than most of the other ones floating around out there.
So let's see what we have....
- A publisher who has access to readers emails and buying habits (and knows how to leverage those assets)
- A publisher who is focusing on the most successful markets (romance, thrillers, sci-fi & fantasy)
- A publisher who can write a contract that publishing's biggest critic is willing to put pen to paper on