05/19/2010 10:33 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Amazon To Publish Foreign Books In Translation In New AmazonCrossing Publishing Imprint

SEATTLE, May 18, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) --, Inc. today announced a new publishing imprint, AmazonCrossing, which will introduce readers to voices of the world through English-language translations of foreign-language books. The first title being published by AmazonCrossing is Tierno Monenembo's award-winning novel, "The King of Kahel," which will be released for the first time in English for readers around the world on Nov. 2, 2010. English-language editions of "The King of Kahel" will be available in print format at and globally as a wireless digital download from the Kindle Store in less than 60 seconds.

"The goal of our publishing programs is to introduce readers to terrific authors they might not otherwise have the chance to know," said Jeff Belle, Vice President of Books. "Our international customers have made us aware of exciting established and emerging voices from other cultures and countries that have not been translated for English-language readers. These great voices and great books deserve a wider audience, and that's why we created AmazonCrossing."

Similar to AmazonEncore (, Amazon's first publishing imprint, AmazonCrossing uses customer feedback and other data from Amazon sites around the world to identify exceptional books deserving of a wider, global audience. AmazonCrossing will acquire the rights and translate the books and then introduce them to the English-speaking market through multiple channels and formats, such as the Amazon Books Store, Amazon Kindle Store, and national and independent booksellers via third-party wholesalers.

"As president of the Nobel Committee for Literature, I have seen how recent laureates--Elfriede Jelinek, Imre Kertesz, JMG Le Clezio, Herta Muller--were virtually unknown and unprinted in England and U.S. and only after the Nobel Prize were they able to find readers in English, yet they are in my view equal to anyone writing in English," said Per Wastberg, President of the Nobel Committee for Literature. "AmazonCrossing deserves praise and support. Such translation and distribution of good literature from so-called minor languages can only stimulate our cultures and inspire writers to widen their horizons."

"There are many thousands of books out there worthy of being translated and published in English, but that are currently unavailable to us monolingual readers," said Chad Post, Publisher at Open Letter Books. "The more international books that are available in English, the better. It's exciting to see a company like Amazon investing in such a worthy cause like AmazonCrossing, and in a way that will definitely help expand the audience for literature in translation."

Tierno Monenembo's "The King of Kahel" was originally published in France in 2008 and was the winner of the French literary prize, the prix Renaudot, which is awarded to the author of an outstanding original novel published during the current year. Based on the life of Olivier de Sanderval, a man who journeyed to Guinea to build an empire by conquering the hostile region of Fouta Djallon, the book explores how Sanderval braves all dangers to build a railway that will bring modern civilization to Africa. Born in 1947 in Guinea, Monenembo was exiled to Senegal and the Ivory Coast before moving to France to pursue a doctorate in biochemistry. He is the author of nine books and one stage play.

"I'm thrilled to inaugurate Amazon's new series of translations. American publishers lag far behind their international counterparts when it comes to publishing foreign books in translation," said Nicholas Elliott, translator of "The King of Kahel." "That Amazon should devote such a major effort to trying to reverse this trend--particularly one launched with a novel of the quality of 'The King of Kahel'--is great news not only for translators but for readers and writers hungry to discover what's going on in Norway, Argentina, Kazakhstan...and Fouta Djallon."

For more information on AmazonCrossing and upcoming titles, visit AmazonCrossing is a brand used by Amazon Content Services, LLC.