SEATTLE — Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Ian Fleming Publications Ltd today announced that Amazon Publishing has acquired a ten-year license for North American rights to the entire list of James Bond books by Ian Fleming in print and ebook. Along with the iconic series, Fleming’s two works of non-fiction, consisting of a collection of travel writings called Thrilling Cities (1963) and an exposé of the illegal precious stones trade entitled The Diamond Smugglers (1957), are also included in the agreement. Jonny Geller, Managing Director at Curtis Brown, negotiated the agreement. All of the titles will be reissued by Amazon Publishing’s Thomas & Mercer imprint beginning in summer 2012.
“This deal heralds a new phase in Ian Fleming’s publishing story. We are excited to be working with Amazon in North America to bring a new generation of readers to Ian Fleming’s classic novels.”
“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, and we believe that Amazon Publishing has the ability to place the books back at the heart of the Bond brand, balancing traditional publishing routes with new technologies and new ways of reaching our readers,” said Corinne Turner, Managing Director of Ian Fleming Publications Ltd.
The agreement for the 14 classic James Bond titles includes the first James Bond book in the series, Casino Royale (1953)—which will celebrate 60 years of publication in 2013—as well as Live and Let Die (1954); Moonraker (1955); Diamonds Are Forever (1956); From Russia with Love (1957); Dr. No (1958); Goldfinger (1959); For your Eyes Only (1960); Thunderball (1961); 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) and Octopussy and the Living Daylights (1966). Since their first publication the books have sold over 100 million copies worldwide and have been the inspiration behind the world’s longest-running film franchise. Following Fleming’s death in 1964, Kingsley Amis wrote the next book in the Bond series, Colonel Sun, under the name of Robert Markham. Bond novels have since been written by John Gardner, Raymond Benson, Sebastian Faulks, and Jeffery Deaver.
“We are devoted fans of Fleming’s Bond novels here at Amazon Publishing, and we’re thrilled these books—already known across the world and across generations—will continue to flourish under our Thomas & Mercer imprint,” says Philip Patrick, Director, Business Development, Rights and Licensing. “Amazon Publishing offers signature authors a new life for great backlist titles. Fleming is the perfect fit.”
Geller says, “This deal heralds a new phase in Ian Fleming’s publishing story. We are excited to be working with Amazon in North America to bring a new generation of readers to Ian Fleming’s classic novels.”
This agreement comes on the heels of the announcement last month by The Random House Group that the Bond backlist was returning to its publishing roots in the UK, with Vintage Books (sister imprint of Jonathan Cape, the original publisher of Casino Royale) acquiring a ten-year license for exclusive rights to the Bond novels in the English language with the exception of North America.