Amazon's decision last week to purchase 450 children's book titles from Marshall Cavendish has left librarians wondering how the e-commerce giant will handle the books' distribution channels, and whether they'll still be available from independent bookstores and major library suppliers such as Follett, Mackin, and Baker & Taylor.
Of course, the deal makes perfect sense for Amazon, which is trying to gain a stronger foothold in the market for print picture books, chapter books, and young adult novels. The acquisition also gives Amazon access to the digital rights of a number of well-known children's books, including Jennifer Roy's Yellow Star (2006), Eric A. Kimmel's Three Little Tamales (2009), and Debby Dahl Edwardson's (left) National Book Award finalist, My Name is Not Easy (2011).
"We believe the children's book market segment presents a unique opportunity to innovate in both print and digital formats," says Amazon Publishing's Vice President Jeff Belle in a statement. "Since many of these [Marshall Cavendish] titles are not readily available as ebooks, we see a chance to connect a terrific group of authors and illustrators with more readers."
But since the announcement, Amazon hasn't addressed the major concerns of librarians, who are left wondering ...