April 19, 2012, 2:25 PM

Amazon bonds with fans of classic spy novels

The e-retailer’s publishing arm buys the rights to the James Bond novels.

Amy Dusto

Associate Editor

Lead Photo

Amazon.com shoppers in the United States, Canada and Mexico soon will be able to buy classic James Bond novels in e-book and print editions from the e-retailer, No. 1 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

The books will be released beginning this summer both in printed form and as e-books consumers can read on Amazon's Kindle reader. However, Amazon has not committed to making the books available for competing e-book readers, such as Apple Inc.'s iPad or the Barnes & Noble Nook. Amazon is still deciding whether it will release the books in other e-book formats and when, an Amazon spokeswoman says. Apple is No. 3 in the Top 500 Guide and Barnes & Noble No. 41.

Amazon has purchased a 10-year license for the North American rights to all works by British spy author Ian Fleming, and will publish those works under its Thomas & Mercer publishing imprint   The list of titles includes the first 14 books in the iconic James Bond spy series, which Fleming wrote until his death in 1964; other authors picked up the storyline thereafter. Additionally, two of Fleming’s lesser-known nonfiction titles are included in the rights: “Thrilling Cities,” a collection of travel writing, and “The Diamond Smugglers,” an exposé of illegal trading of precious stones.

“Amazon provided a dynamic proposal to reach new readers of Ian Fleming in a way that linked the global reach of the movies to the original classic source material,” says Jonny Geller, Ian Fleming Publishing’s literary agent. “Most people have seen the Bond movies, but did they know how different the character is in the novels?”

Last month, The Random House Group in the United Kingdom acquired a 10-year license to publish the same list of books, in the English language only, everywhere except North America.

Several sessions at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition 2012 in Chicago in June will deal with intellectual property issues. This includes a session by Andrew Leibnitz, attorney at Farella Braun + Martel LLP, and Rosalyn Mitchell, associate general counsel, Wal-Mart Stores Inc., entitled “Fighting back against patent suits: What to do and how to do it."

The books will be released as e-books consumers can read on Amazon's Kindle reader simultaneously with the print editions beginning this summer. Amazon has not committed to making the e-books available for competing e-book readers, such as for Apple Inc.'s iPad or the Barnes & Noble Nook. Amazon is determining whether it will release the books in other e-formats and when, an Amazon spokeswoman said.

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