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Amazon.com to Convert E-Books to Print With Houghton Mifflin

Jan. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Amazon.com Inc. made a deeper dive into the publishing world with an agreement announced today that lets Houghton Mifflin Harcourt print and distribute electronic books owned by one of Amazon’s publishing arms.

Titles from Amazon’s East Coast Publishing Group, including works from Deepak Chopra and James Franco, will debut in September, said Katie Finch, a spokeswoman for Seattle-based Amazon. Houghton’s newly named New Harvest imprint will distribute the books in North America, outside of Amazon’s e-commerce site.

Amazon, the world’s largest Internet retailer, is the leading seller of electronic books and e-readers. Still, its publishing arm aims to market books to people who don’t visit its site. Houghton Mifflin, meanwhile, needs new sources of revenue amid a decline in brick-and-mortar bookstores. Borders Group Inc., once the second-largest bookseller, won court approval to dissolve last month.

“Our goal has been, and remains, to introduce authors to as many readers as possible,” Larry Kirshbaum, vice president and publisher at Amazon Publishing’s East Coast Group, said today in a statement. “This new agreement with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt enables us to broaden our distribution and get our books into more readers’ hands.”

Moody’s Investors Service cut Houghton’s ratings last week, saying the odds are growing that it will have to restructure its debt. Amazon has already printed titles through the New York-based publishing house, including “The Hangman’s Daughter” by Oliver Potzsch. The new books will include narrative nonfiction, literary fiction, and business and children’s books.

To contact the reporter on this story: Danielle Kucera in San Francisco at dkucera6@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tom Giles at tgiles5@bloomberg.net

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