AmazonCrossing Commits $10 Million to Translating Books

A press release about this came out yesterday, and at least a few people have written about it or at least mentioned it on social media, but AmazonCrossing announced “a $10 million commitment over the next five years to increase the number and diversity of its books in translation.”

There’s not a lot of specifics in their press release, but there is some information about a new site they set up:

To support this growing commitment to books in translation, AmazonCrossing editors today opened a new website for authors, agents and publishers to suggest titles for translation at translation.amazon.com/submissions. AmazonCrossing is now accepting submissions in mystery, thriller, women’s fiction, historical fiction, literary fiction, memoir, science fiction and fantasy categories. In addition to this new streamlined process for submissions, AmazonCrossing editors will accept submissions for translation consideration in person at the Frankfurt Book Fair on October 14th from 11:00 am-1:00 pm in Hall 3.0, K31.

It’ll be interesting to see how this develops over the next few years. They published 35 books so far this year, and 47 last year, and with a $2 million investment, they could easily up that to 60 or 70. What I think we’re all hoping is that a good chunk of this money goes directly to the translators. AmazonCrossing really is in a position to help the field as a whole, essentially creating more jobs for translators, which is really important given the growing number of young people getting into this field.

As Sarah Jane Gunter mentions in the press release, AmazonCrossing is one of the largest publishers of translated literature in the United States. And they publish a much wider range of books than, say, Open Letter or Dalkey Archive. This is the thing that I most respect about them as a publisher. They’re making books available to English readers that a lot of translation-centric presses don’t even consider.

Over the past five years, AmazonCrossing has published significant works such as German author Oliver Pötzsch’s million copy best-selling Hangman’s Daughter series, Korean author Bae Suah’s acclaimed novella Nowhere to Be Found and Turkish author Ayse Kulin’s Kindle best seller Last Train to Istanbul. The 2016 list will continue a commitment to translating books by exceptional foreign-language authors including award-winning and best-selling Mexican author of Like Water for Chocolate, Laura Esquivel. Her novel Pierced by the Sun, a gripping tale of murder and redemption translated from Spanish by Jordi Castells, will be published in June 2016. In July 2016, AmazonCrossing will publish award-winning Polish crime writer Zygmunt Miloszewski’s Rage, translated from Polish by Antonia Lloyd-Jones, winner of the 2014 Paszport Polityka prize for literature.

I highly recommend that Bae Suah book, and I’m looking forward to reading the Laura Restrepo book that they’re doing as well.

I’ll bet the AmazonCrossing folks are going to be in high demand at ALTA this year!

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