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Amazon Will Sell Some E-Books Beyond The Kindle Store

Laura Hazard Owen

James Atlas, who comes from the traditional publishing world, is going to edit a series of biographies for Amazon (NSDQ:AMZN - News). The most interesting thing about the announcement is that the e-books won’t be exclusive to Amazon—they’ll be sold at etailers beyond the Kindle Store.

Atlas previously ran the independent publishing company Atlas & Co. and will no longer publish new titles there. He is editing a series of short biographies for Amazon called “Amazon Lives.” The New York Times (NYSE:NYT - News) reports that the biographies in the series will be 25,000 to 40,000 words long and Atlas will acquire and edit at least 12 of them. The first title will be published in June 2013. (Publishers Weekly broke the news about Atlas but didn’t have more details.)

Unlike all of the other e-books that Amazon has published so far, the “Amazon Lives” series will not be exclusive to the Kindle Store. The NYT first reported this and Amazon confirmed it, telling me, “The books will be available to be sold everywhere in all formats.” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt will publish the print versions.)

Barnes & Noble and other bookstore chains have said they won’t carry print versions of Amazon Publishing titles in their stores and it’s unclear if Amazon’s move to e-book non-exclusivity will change that, but it definitely gives Barnes & Noble (NYSE:BKS - News) less of a reason to refuse to carry the books.

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