11 November 08 | Chad W. Post

This is a great idea:

Amazon.co.uk has launched a new Literature in Translation store, highlighting hundreds of titles from 27 countries across the world. The site went live last week and is linked via the books homepage and the crime, fiction and poetry category pages The Bookseller

Can’t say it’s the easiest store to find, but that might be my faulty searches and the fact that I need some coffee . . . Nevertheless, here’s a link to the front page of the translation store.

Independent bookstores such as McNally Jackson, Quail Ridge Books, Talking Leaves, and others, have implemented similar ideas, creating a foreign fiction section and organizing the books by country/region. Similar to a special display in a store, Amazon is also highlighting books from particular authors and presses, which is a nice touch. (Personally, I think it would be great if there was a bit more editorial info included in these spotlights. An interview, a more complete description, etc., would go a long way.)

From my experience at Quail Ridge Books, creating a section like this worked really well in terms of increasing sales of translations, which is something Kes Nielsen, head of book buying, seems to believe in:

Sales of the genre had been growing in recent years. “By creating a dedicated Literature in Translation section on site, we are making it easy for our customers to discover a wide selection of great books by new authors from different countries that we hope they will enjoy,” he said.

“Customers will always respond to well written books, regardless of whether they were originally written in English. However there is also the appeal of reading fiction set in cities or countries that are either familiar based on travel or that are simply different to the traditional setting of most books, specifically the US and UK. It can make them all the more exciting to read.”

The one disappointing thing is that this is only on Amazon UK—not on the U.S. sister site. Sort of embarrassing that the original Amazon is a step behind . . .

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