May 4th, 2012
“We believe that Amazon Publishing has the ability to place the books back at the heart of the Bond brand…” announced the managing director of Ian Fleming Publications, Ltd., praising Amazon for ” balancing traditional publishing routes with new technologies and new ways of reaching our readers.” They seemed intrigued by the reach of the Kindle, and the possibility that it could open up an entirely new market. . “We are excited to be using the opportunity of this re-license to introduce Ian Fleming’s books to a broader audience in the USA.”
Amazon noted that the books have already sold more than 100 million copies — and that the James Bond series of films is “the world’s longest-running film franchise.” But more importantly, “We are devoted fans of Fleming’s Bond novels here at Amazon Publishing,” noted business development director Philip Patrick. In a statement, he said that Amazon’s book-publishing arm could offer famous authors “a new life for great backlist titles” (adding that Ian Fleming was “the perfect fit.”) So how does it feel to be keeping Ian Fleming’s books alive on one of Amazon’s own publishing imprints?
Here’s a list of the James Bond titles which will be available as Kindle ebooks.
Casino Royale (1953)
Live and Let Die (1954
Diamonds Are Forever (1956)
From Russia with Love (1957)
Dr. No (1958)
For your Eyes Only (1960)
The Spy Who Loved Me (1962)
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1963)
You Only Live Twice (1964)
The Man With The Golden Gun (1965)
The Living Daylights (1966)
In addition, Amazon also plans to publish two interesting non-fiction books written by Ian Fleming — The Diamond Smugglers, a true-crime story from 1957 analyzing the illegal trade in precious stones, plus Thrilling Cities, a 1963 collection of travel stories.
It reminds me of a conversation I had with my friend Len Edgerly (who broadcasts a new episode of the Kindle Chronicles podcast online every Friday). Last summer he’d read From Russia With Love during a trip, and noted that even back then, it wasn’t available on the Nook (or on any other digital reading devices that he’d tried). But on his podcast, Len shared another interesting observation: that reading that ebook also opened his eyes to the potential of “public notes” created for a Kindle ebook.
[T]here’s an intriguing use of public annotations in that book, because Jeffrey Deaver has — apparently he was authorized by the family to write another 007 novel in the series. It’s called Carte Blanche, and it was actually published in May. But he was going through “From Russia With Love, written by Ian Fleming, sharing his impressions of the book as part of his preparation for writing his own James Bond novel. And one of the ones I loved the best was, in that book, Bond isn’t — doesn’t appear in the book to where you can see what he’s doing and saying until a third of the book goes — has passed. It’s all preparation and Moscow and — the spy’s getting ready to seduce him, and all this. And Deaver says, this is amazing, you know, that he would have the discipline and the skill to wait this long to introduce his main character…. I’m going to be really curious to read the Deaver book to see if I can see things that he flagged in his reading of From Russia With Love as he was preparing his own version of a Jame Bond story.
But I can picture other uses of that where a favorite author is reading a classic or just another book of some kind, and you have a chance to look over his shoulder and see what he or she is jotting down, highlighting and making notes about…
Len’s comment got me thinking about the possibility of a college professor leaving notes for his entire class in a Kindle ebook. Or maybe the members of a book group could all pool their notes, so they could share their reactions to the ebook while they were still reading it! I wondered if someday, a president of the United States might leave notes in an ebook to commemorate National Reading Month. And Len remembered that on one of Barack Obama’s vacations last year one time, “it came out that he had read the biography of Ronald Reagan. And man, that would’ve been fascinating to see what he was highlighting in the notes he was jotting down about that!”
My theory is that people just aren’t aware of the power of public notes. (To follow a specific person’s notes, just login at Kindle.Amazon.com and search for their name, and then click the “Follow” button that appears over their profile picture.) I predicted to Len that as time goes by, and as people become more familiar with the possibilities, we’ll see more interesting uses for public notes on the Kindle. The last thing I said to him?
“I’m actually surprised more people aren’t doing this already!”