Amazon has added another genre to its publishing stable, with the launch of 47North, a science fiction/fantasy/horror imprint that will publish original and previously published works from new and established authors as well as out-of-print books. “We are especially happy to have a diverse list at launch, and look forward to publishing across a wide range of subgenres,” said Victoria Griffith, publisher of Amazon Publishing’s west coast group.
47North has signed 15 titles at launch with its first title coming from Lee Goldberg and William Rabkin, the authors of Successful Television Writing and who have written and/or produced scores of highly successful network television series, including Diagnosis Murder, Spenser: For Hire, and Baywatch. Their digital-first novel, Face of Evil, will be published this month; four more installments will also be published in October, with a new adventure following each month thereafter. A print compilation of the first three novels will publish in January 2012.
Most of the first books in the list will be released early in 2012 and include a number of series, including the Foreworld series being developed by Neal Stephenson and Greg Bear along with other authors. The series will begin with The Mongoliad trilogy, an epic tale about the birth of Western martial arts with its first book, The Mongoliad: Book One set for release in April 2012.
Other authors signed to 47North include science fiction and fantasy writer Dave Duncan;Arwen Elys Dayton whose novel, Resurrection, has been out of print for years and will be brought back into print by 47North in January 2012; Aric Davis; Evan Currie; bestselling UK author Stephen Leather whose new Nightingale series will be published by 47North starting in March 2012; Chris Roberson; and B.V. Larson.
All titles will be available to English readers in Kindle, print and audio formats at www.amazon.com, and the company plans to distribute to bookstores.
Separately, Amazon Publishing has acquired Penny Marshall's memoir My Mother Was Nuts. Dan Strone, CEO at Trident Media Group, (working in conjunction with Marshall's manager, Alan Lezman) sold world English rights to Julia Cheiffetz and Larry Kirshbaum in New York. Trident will be handling foreign rights from Frankfurt (Kirshbaum and Cheiffetz are not at Frankfurt).
The deal will likely cause heavy ripples at the Frankfurt fair, where many were waiting to see what, if anything, Amazon's new publishing unit would do at the fair. Strone, who would not talk dollars in regard to the advance, said that the auction for the book was "very hotly contested" with "virtually every publisher in town" in the ring. He confirmed that Amazon offered a better e-book royalty rate than the traditional houses, and that their advance was "very aggressive."
The sale also comes on the heels of Trident's chairman, Robert Gottlieb, pointing to Amazon Publishing as yet another reason American houses need to budge on the standard 25% royalty rate they are offering on ebooks. Gottlieb told The Bookseller that Amazon's competitive advances, coupled with higher ebook royalty rate offers, is further proof that the big print houses need to reconsider that 25% sticking point on digital.
Questions do linger about Amazon's ability to get titles on its coming lists into bookstores, though. While the company has promised print distribution--supposedly Brilliancen Audio reps will be selling its list--it remains to be seen whether the independents or Barnes & Noble will carry Amazon Publishing books. Strone said he's not concerned, though, and expects the book, which is scheduled for fall 2012, and will pub simultaneously in print and digital, to get wide distribution.