Amazon publishing editor Larry Kirshbaum is leaving the company early next year and returning to agenting.
Kirshbaum will exit the New York-based publishing arm of Amazon on 17th January. A spokesperson for Amazon said: "We're sorry to see him go, and wish him the best of luck as he returns to life as a literary agent." The spokesperon alo credited Kirshbaum with being instrumental in launching its New York office, including its New Harvest partnership and establishing its children's book business.
Shelf Awareness first reported that Kirshbaum was set to leave early next year, following the departure of several other editorial employees who have recently left or been let go.
The website also reported that in conjunction with Kirshbaum’s exit, Amazon’s publishing activities will be scaled back. However, an Amazon spokesperson told The Bookseller: "Our New York office will continue to expand, as our overall publishing business grows. In fact, we will be announcing new imprints to launch in New York soon." The spokesperson also added that Daphne Durham had already been appointed as Publisher of Amazon's Adult Trade & Children’s businesses. The company still lists 27 editors under its employment across all its imprints and the company also launched JetCity Comis and Kindle Worlds this year.
Despite initially signing up books by big name celebrities and authors such as Penny Marshall, James Franco, Deepak Chopra and Timothy Ferriss when it first launched in 2011, Amazon Publishing has struggled to achieve high sales of titles after Barnes & Noble and independent book stores largely refused to stock them, declining to help an aggressive competitor.
Kirshbaum, former c.e.o. of Time-Warner Book Group, was appointed to publisher of Amazon’s New York publishing office in May 2011. In August this year, he was accused of sexual assault in papers filed in a New York Supreme Court. However, the allegations were described as "baseless" by Kirshbaum's lawyer, Catherine Redlich.
Amazon Publishing US currently operates 11 imprints.