May 20, 2009, 12:00 AM

Customer reviews to help reintroduce hidden gems to Amazon shoppers

Sometimes customers rave about books, but without more marketing from publishers behind them, the books fail to sell. To boost authors and sales, Amazon.com will identify such tomes and give them an extra push online—and in stores.

Amazon.com customers raved over “Legacy,” a self-published novel by 16-year-old Cayla Kluver, with customer review titles such as “loved it, loved it,” “rich lyrical tapestry and story” and “breathtaking in scope and execution!” Despite winning several prizes from literary groups and accolades like these from readers, Kluver’s debut novel sold only modestly.

To help readers discover such hidden gems and to help boost sales, Amazon.com Inc. has unveiled AmazonEncore. Through this program, Amazon.com is using information such as customer reviews to identify exceptional, overlooked books and authors that show potential for greater sales. Amazon then partners with the authors to reintroduce their books to readers through marketing support and distribution into multiple channels and formats, such as the Amazon Books Store, Amazon Kindle Store, Audible.com, and national and independent bookstores via third-party wholesalers.

This summer Kluver will revise “Legacy.” Amazon.com, No. 1 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, will then re-issue the book as an AmazonEncore edition in print on Amazon.com, in physical bookstores, as a digital download from the Kindle Store, and via spoken-word audio download on Audible.com.

“Sometimes exceptional books and new authors don’t get the attention they deserve. We’re fortunate at Amazon to have customers who know great books and aren’t shy about telling us when they find one. We developed AmazonEncore to connect readers with great books that were overlooked the first time they were released,” says Jeff Belle, vice president of books. “Cayla Kluver is a gifted young writer who shows promise for the future. She exemplifies the kind of authors that AmazonEncore will support and we look forward to showcasing ‘Legacy’ and many more similarly talented, but undiscovered voices to our customers through this program.”

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