By Dennis Abrams
On December 6, Amazon.com signed a deal to acquire over 450 titles of the US children’s trade book business of Marshall Cavendish Children’s Books. Marshall Cavendish is one of the world’s leading educational and consumer publishers and classroom digital solutions providers.
It is a list of titles that has been nominated for over 150 industry awards and includes such diverse titles as The Night Before Christmas, illustrated by Gennady Spirin, Three Little Tamales by Eric A. Kimmel, Chalk by Bill Thomson and Yellow Star by Jennifer Roy, as well as the 2011 National Book Award finalist My Name is Not Easy by Debby Dahl Edwardson. This acquisition gives Amazon Publishing the foundation it needs to further expand into picture books, chapter books, and young adult novels.
“This is our first attempt to get organized around a children’s book strategy,” Jeff Belle, Vice President, Amazon Publishing said in an interview. In the company’s press release he added, “We believe the children’s book market segment presents a unique opportunity to innovate in both print and digital formats. And since many of these titles are not readily available as eBooks, we see a chance to connect a terrific group of authors and illustrators with more readers. We also see the potential for similar deals across other categories in the future.”
Laurence Kirshbaum, Vice President and Publisher, Amazon Publishing, East Coast Group, praised Margery Cuyler and the entire Marshall Cavendish Children’s Books team for doing “an incredible job of building a contemporary and beautifully presented list of books,” and went on to emphasize the digital editions that will soon be available thanks to the Kindle Fire. “We look forward to working with these respected authors and illustrators. We will continue to publish these books in their handsome print editions and we think customers will love reading these books — most of them never available before digitally.”
Lee Lei Chen, Group Publisher and Head of Publishing Group at Marshall Cavendish Corporation thanked all of the MCCB authors and illustrators for their long-standing contributions, adding, “Our sale will allow Marshall Cavendish to continue to focus on our core K-12 textbook and assessment books business in the United States, and growing our school education publishing business worldwide.”
The newly acquired children’s titles will initially be published under an imprint carrying the Marshall Cavendish name. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed, but are expected to be completed within six months.