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Amazon acquires children's book titles

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(Read caption) Amazon's new collection of children's book titles includes National Book Award for Young People's Literature nominee 'My Name Is Not Easy' by Debby Dahl Edwardson.

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Amazon announced this week that it has acquired more than 450 children’s book titles from Marshall Cavendish Children's Books.

The bookseller, which recently created imprints through which to publish science fiction, romance novels, and mysteries, in addition to other genres, says it hopes to convert many of the titles into digital form. Books acquired through the deal include a version of the holiday classic “The Night Before Christmas” by Clement C. Moore with illustrations by Gennady Spirin and “My Name Is Not Easy” by Debby Dahl Edwardson, a young adult novel which was a finalist for the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature this year. One of the newer titles received by Amazon is “The Golem’s Latkes,” a children’s book in which a rabbi’s maid asks the golem for help preparing the dish.

The vice president for Amazon Publishing, Jeff Belle, said in an interview with the New York Times that this is the company’s first push to become a presence in the children’s publishing industry. The company has released a few children’s titles under the AmazonEncore imprint before now. 

“This is a case where there’s a great list of books that have not been digitized,” Belle said. 

He said the new format of the books will widen the children’s book audience for those in the industry.

“[We] see a chance to connect a terrific group of authors and illustrators with more readers,” he said in an interview with The Guardian.

Marshall Cavendish said in a statement that it will now focus on publishing educational books.

Amazon’s decision to release books under its own imprints have caused controversy in the publishing world from publishing companies who fear they’ll be muscled out by the book giant. 

BGC financial analyst Colin Gillis told Reuters that he thinks publishers should be paying attention to this new venture.

“This should raise the alarm for other publishers,” he said. “One of their healthiest distributors is getting their business.”

Molly Driscoll is a Monitor contributor.

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