What the Heck Is Amazon Children’s Publishing?


Dear Elizabeth…

You’re not alone in wondering what kind of publisher Amazon Children’s Publishing is. The confusion stems from Amazon’s successful branding of its pay-for-print publishing entity CreateSpace. Anyone can use CreateSpace to self-publish by uploading their own text files and images and paying fees for their printing choices; these books are sold on Amazon.com, with Amazon getting a percentage of each sale. In contrast, Amazon Children’s Publishing is a full publisher in the traditional model, selectively acquiring manuscripts for seasonal lists, paying its authors advances and royalties on each book sold, designing and paying for the production of the books, financing the marketing of each book within a whole-list campaign, then selling the books through Amazon.com and any retailer willing to stock books with the word “Amazon” on them. They make the books available to booksellers and librarians through distributors Ingram and Baker & Taylor, just like any traditional publisher.

Happy writing!
The Editor


  1. This fall, Amazon’s New York-based imprint of books for general adult titles, New Harvest, will formally launch its first full season. As some may remember, New Harvest is the imprint that arose from Amazon’s recent licensing agreement with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (http://bit.ly/yJFd48). Members of Publishers Lunch can read PL’s full article about that fall list here: http://lunch.publishersmarketplace.com/2012/08/sampling-amazons-first-fall-harvest/

  2. So I’m trying to figure out if they are still the “bad guys.” i heard that some independent book stores have refused to sell anything with the Amazon name on it

    • Many independent booksellers accuse Amazon of engaging in “predatory pricing,” wherein Amazon lowers its prices below profit level until they’ve lured so many customers away from competitors that the competitors—in this case independent booksellers with significantly shallower pockets—go out of business. This is the heart of many people’s objection to the Department of Justice’s pricing collusion lawsuit against six major publishers. Objectors say that Amazon is the one trying to stamp out competition in the marketplace, not those publishers. Another “bad guy” issue is Amazon’s recent Price Check app promotion, which gave customers a 5% discount when they purchased something they’d first scanned in a store. Retailers felt Amazon was turning their stores into its showrooms with this “in your face” move. Thus, many independent bookstores refuse to sell books that will add money to Amazon’s coffers. Even large retailers are angry, as Target showed when it stopped selling Amazon Kindles in response to the Price Check promotion (http://nyti.ms/IzI9qI).

  3. Your answer makes it sound as if Amazon Children’s Publishing is the only publishing imprint Amazon has. That is not the case. Amazon publishes hundreds of books through its AmazonEncore, Montlake Romance, 47North and several other imprints. My own book, Mercury Falls, was originally self-published through Createspace/KDP and then picked up by AmazonEncore.

    • Absolutely right, Rob. Thanks for underscoring that point. Amazon Publishing (http://amzn.to/S6L7Il) does already have many imprints for adult readers. Reader questions (and thus my answers) today and yesterday focused on Amazon Children’s Publishing because it is brand new and the company is actively attending writing conferences to introduce it to writers for young people, who for the most part haven’t had reason yet to learn the breadth of Amazon’s publishing entities. Congratulations on the success of your book, Mercury Falls. An angel obsessed with Rice Krispy Treats and ping-pong … sounds great.

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