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Amazon.com and Penguin Group (USA) Announce Second Annual Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Competition

Following the Success of the Inaugural Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award in 2008, Amazon and Penguin Seek the Next New Voice to Be Published by Penguin Group (USA)

SEATTLE, NEW YORK - Nov. 13, 2008 - Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) and Penguin Group (USA) (NYSE: PSO) today announced the second annual Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, the international competition seeking the next popular novel. Writers around the world are encouraged to begin preparing their manuscripts for entry into the competition, which is scheduled to launch on Feb. 2, 2009.

Last year's inaugural Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award competition was enormously successful. Bill Loehfelm emerged as the 2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Grand Prize Winner from a pool of 5,000 entrants. G. P. Putnam's Sons (a division of Penguin Group (USA)) published his novel, Fresh Kills, in August 2008 to critical acclaim. The Associated Press hailed the novel as "the finest crime fiction debut since Dennis Lehane burst on the scene...not just a crime novel but a psychological novel of impressive subtlety and complexity." Loehfelm said, "The opportunity to enter this contest and share my manuscript with two publishing industry innovators like Penguin Group and Amazon was thrilling enough—but to go from longtime struggling writer to nationally published author in nine months is an aspiring writer's dream."

Between Feb. 2 and Feb. 8, 2009, writers with an unpublished English-language novel manuscript can submit their work at www.amazon.com/abna. Up to 10,000 initial entries will be accepted, from which Amazon editors will select 2,000 to advance to the next round. Expert reviewers from Amazon will then review excerpts of these 2,000 entries and narrow the pool to 500 quarter-finalists. Reviewers from Publishers Weekly will then read, rate and review the full manuscripts, and 100 semi-finalists will be selected. Penguin editors will evaluate the manuscripts from this group of 100 and choose three finalists. A panel of esteemed publishing professionals—including mega-bestselling authors Sue Grafton and Sue Monk Kidd, literary agent Barney Karpfinger and Penguin Press Editor-in-Chief Eamon Dolan—will read and post their critiques of the top three manuscripts on www.amazon.com. Amazon customers will then have seven days to vote for the Grand Prize Winner. The winner will be announced on May 22, 2009, and will receive a publishing contract with Penguin, which includes a $25,000 advance.

"We are excited to once again team up with Penguin to help authors break through and to introduce millions of Amazon customers to great new books," said Jeff Belle, Amazon's vice president, U.S. Books. "Authors last year quickly formed one of the largest communities on Amazon.com around the contest and exchanged views on writing and publishing."

Message boards will again be available on www.amazon.com for Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award author participants to connect with one another and discuss the contest.

CreateSpace.com, part of the Amazon group of companies and a leader in self-publishing services, will again host the contest entry platform, which includes a community for authors that will help them get their entries ready by staying up to date on the contest, soliciting feedback from the community and accessing online content that may be helpful in preparing their entries.

Tim McCall, vice president, director of online sales and marketing, Penguin Group (USA), commented, "We're very happy to again team with Amazon for the second Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award competition, and are eager to seek out the fresh new literary talent we know exists. We were energized by the tremendous enthusiasm that grew out of the 2008 contest, and are honored to be involved with a growing community of talented writers. We are looking forward to expanding on the huge success and popularity of this contest in 2009."

More than 5,000 registrations were received for the 2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest, representing approximately 2,000 cities around the world and every state in the United States. Due to the tremendous response in 2008, up to 10,000 entries will be accepted for the 2009 contest. The contest will also take place over a shorter period of three and a half months, as opposed to six months last year.

The high caliber of the 2008 contest submissions resulted in the discovery of fresh new voices from among the Top 10 Finalists. Penguin Group (USA) has acquired four more Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contestants' novels: Bad Things Happen by Harry Dolan (Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam, July 2009); The Wet Nurse's Tale by Erica Eisdorfer (G.P. Putnam's Sons, August 2009); The Butterflies of Grand Canyon by Margaret Erhart (Plume, January 2010); and Casting Off by Nicole Dickson (NAL, August 2009).

"We're excited to be working with both Amazon and Penguin on the second annual Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award," said Sara Nelson, editor-in-chief, Publishers Weekly. "As the foremost book review publication for the publishing industry, Publishers Weekly sets the standard in offering early insight on the work of new authors. We are very happy to be able to bring our experience and perspective to bear on the fresh talent that will emerge during the 2009 competition."

For complete terms and conditions for the 2009 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award as well as more information about the contest, please visit www.amazon.com/abna. For more information on the CreateSpace self-publishing service or to visit the CreateSpace Community, please visit www.createspace.com.

 

About Penguin Group (USA)
Penguin Group (USA) Inc. is the U.S. member of the internationally renowned Penguin Group. Penguin Group (USA) is one of the leading U.S. adult and children's trade book publishers, owning a wide range of imprints and trademarks, including Viking, G. P. Putnam's Sons, The Penguin Press, Riverhead Books, Dutton, Penguin Books, Berkley Books, Gotham Books, Portfolio, New American Library, Plume, Tarcher, Philomel, Grosset & Dunlap, Puffin, and Frederick Warne, among others. The Penguin Group (http://www.penguin.com) is part of Pearson plc, the international media company.

 

About Amazon.com
Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), a Fortune 500 company based in Seattle, opened on the World Wide Web in July 1995 and today offers Earth's Biggest Selection. Amazon.com, Inc. seeks to be Earth's most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online, and endeavors to offer its customers the lowest possible prices. Amazon.com and other sellers offer millions of unique new, refurbished and used items in categories such as books, movies, music & games, digital downloads, electronics & computers, home & garden, toys, kids & baby, grocery, apparel, shoes & jewelry, health & beauty, sports & outdoors, and tools, auto & industrial. Amazon Web Services provides Amazon's developer customers with access to in-the-cloud infrastructure services based on Amazon's own back-end technology platform, which developers can use to enable virtually any type of business. Examples of the services offered by Amazon Web Services are Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), Amazon SimpleDB, Amazon Simple Queue Service (Amazon SQS), Amazon Flexible Payments Service (Amazon FPS), and Amazon Mechanical Turk. Amazon and its affiliates operate websites, including www.amazon.com, www.amazon.co.uk, www.amazon.de, www.amazon.co.jp, www.amazon.fr, www.amazon.ca, and the Joyo Amazon websites at www.joyo.cn and www.amazon.cn.

As used herein, "Amazon.com," "we," "our" and similar terms include Amazon.com, Inc., and its subsidiaries, unless the context indicates otherwise.

 

Forward-Looking Statements
This announcement contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Actual results may differ significantly from management's expectations. These forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that include, among others, risks related to competition, management of growth, new products, services and technologies, potential fluctuations in operating results, international expansion, outcomes of legal proceedings and claims, fulfillment center optimization, seasonality, commercial agreements, acquisitions and strategic transactions, foreign exchange rates, system interruption, significant amount of indebtedness, inventory, government regulation and taxation, payments and fraud. More information about factors that potentially could affect Amazon.com's financial results is included in Amazon.com's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2006, and all subsequent filings.

 

About CreateSpace
CreateSpace is a business of On-Demand Publishing LLC, a subsidiary of Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN). A leader in manufacture on demand services for independent creative content owners, CreateSpace was originally founded as CustomFlix Labs, Inc. in 2002 and acquired by Amazon.com, Inc. in 2005. The company's mission is to connect its members to a worldwide audience through multiple channels, including Amazon.com. CreateSpace provides inventory-free, physical distribution of Books, CDs and DVDs on Demand, video downloads via Amazon Video On Demand and music downloads via Amazon MP3.

 

About Publishers Weekly
Publishers Weekly is the leading publication serving all segments involved in the creation, production, marketing and sale of the written word in book, audio, video and electronic formats. A 135-year-old magazine, PW is the leading publication for international and U.S. book publishing needs.

 

Media Contacts:
Amazon Media Hotline
206-266-7180

Penguin Group (USA)
Marilyn Ducksworth / Stephanie Sorensen
212-366-2564 / 212-366-2576
marilyn.ducksworth@us.penguingroup.com / stephanie.sorensen@us.penguingroup.com

CreateSpace
Amanda Wilson
843-789-5163
pr@createspace.com