Following the news that Larry Kirshbaum will be leaving Amazon Publishing in January, the company said that Daphne Durham, who was named editor-in-chief of adult trade publishing last November, has been promoted to publisher of the adult trade and children’s businesses. A spokesperson for Amazon Publishing also said that the New York office will continue to expand and that it will soon announce that launch of new imprints.
Agents contacted by PW said the trade unit, which began by paying hefty advances for projects, in recent months has been buying fewer titles for less money. Agents agreed that the inability to offer authors robust sales and marketing campaigns through bricks-and-mortar store has led to disappointing sales for most Amazon trade titles. Higher sales of e-books and print titles via the Amazon site which Amazon has been counting on to offset a diminished physical retail presence has not worked out. In addition, one agent noted that despite Kirshbaum’s ties to agents, the publishing group could be difficult to deal with. Although most agents PW spoke with said they expect the trade operation to be scaled back, one said that Kirshbaum’s exit may lead to the company re-energizing the unit. While she said she thought Kirshbaum was an asset to Amazon Publishing, finding a new leader who focuses on “strengthening their relationships with bookstores and libraries, strategizing great ways to monetize clients' books and investing in long-term author relationships,” could result in a recommitment to the trade area.