Friday, November 19, 2010

Amazon Acquires 121 Titles From The Toby Press, Expanding US Audience of 61 Authors

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By Tom Dulaney, Editor
Amazon has acquired publication rights to 121 titles from The Toby Press, representing “the works of 61 authors and including diverse fiction titles and works in translation.” All of the books will be re-published in print and as ebooks to be sold in the Kindle Store.

Citing Toby's “wonderful job of building a first-class list of literary fiction," Amazon's Jeff Bell said the titles, “some of which have never been published digitally before,” will be distributed as print and ebooks in the US and abroad.  Authors decide which countries they wish their books to reach. Bell is VP of Amazon Books.

The Toby titles and their arrival in the US emerges from a confluence of AmazonEncore, a program to re-publish works that have already been in print, and AmazonCrossing, whose “mission is to bring great books to a wider audience.”

Great foreign authors like Hartmut Lange and Katharina Hacker, both of Germany, are largely “unseen” by US book lovers for lack of logistics of delivery, language and—well, we have to say it—a populace which tends not to notice the world beyond our borders much of the time.

Lange currently lists 21 titles in the Amazon Book Store on his author's page,  All are in German except for Missing PersonsNone of Lange's books are available in the Kindle Store.

The acquisitions from The Toby Press underscore a great benefit US readers enjoy from AmazonEncore working hand in hand with AmazonCrossing: access to great books not previously available in the US, or available but not in English. Lange is a fine example of a world class author largely neglected by the American reading public.

For example, consider this from Lange's Amazon page for Missing Persons: “One of Germany's greatest contemporary novelists and playwrights, Lange's first appearance in English is a major event.

“His writing has won considerable acclaim, and he has been awarded numerous literary prizes including the prestigious Adenauer Prize.”

“We admire the great books that The Toby Press has published and are proud to now be associated with this distinguished group of authors,” Amazon's Bell said.

The Amazon announcement noted: “Toby titles span from first-time authors such as Crystal Wilkinson, Samantha Dunn, and Joshua Barkan, to celebrated translations of Anna Enquist of the Netherlands, Yasmina Khadra of Algeria, Hartmut Lange and Katharina Hacker of Germany, Haim Sabato and Shlomo DuNour of Israel and Laurent Gaudé (winner of the Prix Goncourt).”

Toby's crime genre features brilliant psychological thrillers from the writers of many countries, including II Magdalen (U.S.), Haim Lapid (Israel), FG Ledesma (Spain), C Gross (Germany) and others.”

The titles from The Toby Press promise to bring US readers the same literary pleasures that a non-Toby title from Penguin enjoys of late as a hit with readers and book clubs. The Shadow of the Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafron, published nearly a decade ago, in English translation exemplifies the finest quality story crafting and plot twisting of the best of the best home-grown authors. 

American readers who've relished Zafron's book, originally published in Spain, can rub their hands with glee at today's announcement of new titles coming from abroad.

For more information on AmazonEncore and AmazonCrossing upcoming titles, visit

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