June 4, 2008, 12:00 AM

Amazon’s Kindle adds 5,000 backlist titles from Simon & Schuster

Simon & Schuster will make 5,000 additional titles available on Amazon Kindle, the online bookseller’s electronic reading device, in 2008. The initiative will more than double the number of Simon & Schuster titles available on Kindle.

Simon & Schuster Inc. will make 5,000 additional titles available in 2008 on Amazon.com Inc.’s Kindle, the online bookseller’s electronic reading device. The titles come from Simon & Schuster’s book backlist and, along with new releases and bestsellers, represent the majority of the publisher’s sales.

The selection of the new titles was based on statistical analysis of physical books that have been popular backlist titles among Amazon.com customers over the past 12 months, Amazon says. The initiative will more than double the number of Simon & Schuster titles available on Kindle.

“Readers aren’t just looking for new or bestselling books, but also books that are older or hard to find,” says Carolyn Reidy, president and CEO of Simon & Schuster. “These are the books that have proven themselves to be of enduring interest, and we want readers to be able to find them anytime, anywhere. We are pleased to take another big step toward that goal by making this great percentage of our active backlist available on Kindle by the end of 2008.”

Purchases of the Kindle, at $359 each, are driving overall online book sales, says Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. “After purchasing a Kindle, customers purchase, on average, just as many physical books, and their total book purchases on Amazon increase by 2.6 times,” he says. Of the 125,000 books available both as a physical book and on Kindle, Kindle books account for more than 6% of units sold, Bezos says.

New releases and bestsellers are priced at $9.99 and many other titles cost less.

Simon & Schuster, a part of CBS Corp., specializes in general interest publishing in print, electronic and audio formats. Amazon is No. 1 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

Matt Williams, general manager of Webstore by Amazon, will be speaking at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition, June 9-12 in Chicago in a session titled Amazon: Leveraging the expertise of the most successful e-retailer.

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