Amazon (s AMZN) has acquired Avalon Books, a small publisher that focuses on hardcover mystery, “wholesome” romance and Westerns, and will make its titles available digitally for the first time. (Don’t confuse Avalon Books with Avalon Publishing Group, which Perseus bought in 2007.) Avalon Books have been geared and marketed primarily toward the library market; now Amazon will seek to market them to a wider audience.
The acquisition, for an undisclosed sum, covers Avalon’s entire backlist of about 3,000 titles. Avalon launched in 1950 and is now run by the founder’s daughter Ellen Bouregy Mickelsen, who said in the release that she is stepping down because “it is time for me to explore the next chapter of my life.” She said she chose Amazon to buy her company because “they care deeply about the writers, readers and categories that have long mattered to our family business and they are uniquely positioned to assure that our titles make the leap forward into the digital future.” She will stay on for awhile to assist with the transition and to “help secure e-book amendments for some of the older Avalon titles whose digital rights are not owned by Avalon.”
Amazon will release the Avalon titles under its West Coast imprints, including Montlake Romance and Thomas & Mercer. The press release says “these books will continue to be available in print for booksellers and libraries nationwide.”
The Avalon announcement is timed to coincide with the beginning of BookExpo America, the largest book publishing event in the United States.
Amazon acquired Marshall Cavendish’s children’s book list last December.