Amazon Branches Out with Publishing Arm Inc. said it plans to launch a publishing imprint that will produce English-language translations of foreign-language books. The imprint, AmazonCrossing, will acquire rights to books and hire writers to translate them into English before printing and selling them through Amazon’s retail website, said Jeff Belle, Amazon’s vice president of books. The new AmazonCrossing imprint will also sell its translations through and national and independent booksellers via third-party wholesalers and will sell digital versions through its Kindle e-bookstore. Amazon will use customer reviews, sales and other data from the online retailer’s international websites to pick books that might attract a wider audience. As a retailer, Amazon has a wide international exposure, with about 25% of its revenue coming from sales of media, including books, music and DVDs, on its websites outside of the U.S. The first AmazonCrossing title, which will be released in November, will be French author Tierno Monenembo’s 2008 novel, “The King of Kahel.” It won a French literary prize, the Prix Renaudot. Still, translations can be expensive. Chad Post, director of the University of Rochester’s Open Letter Books, which specializes in literature in translation, said translators typically command between USD 100 and USD 125 per thousand words. A 60,000-word novel, for example, could cost between USD 6,000 to USD 8,000 to translate. Well-known translators, he added, command as much as USD 175 to USD 200 per 1,000 words.


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