Daphne Durham Steps Into Publisher Role at Amazon Vacated by Kirshbaum

Amazon has wasted little time in filling a position that will be vacated by Larry Kirshbaum on January 17 when he steps down from his role as publisher of Amazon Publishing.

Amazon Publishing editor-in-chief Daphne Durham has already assumed the responsibilities of publisher for Amazon’s adult trade and children’s publishing businesses, an Amazon spokesperson told Digital Book World. She will be based in Seattle.

Amid reported speculation that Kirshbaum’s departure might signal an end to Amazon’s trade publishing aspirations, the spokesperson said that quite the opposite was underway.

“Our New York office will continue to expand, as our overall publishing business grows,” she said. “In fact, we will be announcing new imprints to launch in New York soon.”

Learn more about Amazon’s plans at Digital Book World 2014, where half a day will be focused on discussing the company and its future. Learn more

Of Kirshbaum’s departure, the company offered little detail while media speculated that it had something to do with the publisher’s inability to deliver hits for Amazon and due to allegations of sexual impropriety.

“We can confirm that Larry Kirshbaum is leaving Amazon on January 17,” the spokesperson said. “Larry joined us two and a half years ago and has been instrumental in launching our New York office, including our New Harvest partnership, and establishing our children’s book business. We’re sorry to see him go, and wish him the best of luck as he returns to life as a literary agent.”

Durham, who will be taking over for Kirshbaum at least in the short term, has been editor-in-chief at Amazon Publishing for a year. Prior to that role, she spent 30 months as editorial director at Amazon Publishing. In fact, according to her LinkedIn profile, she has spent her entire career at Amazon, starting in 1999 as an assistant buyer for books. She has also held a senior editor role at Amazon.com and, later, the title of senior manager, site merchandising and product management for books at Amazon.com. Durham has a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Illinois and a master’s degree in twentieth century literature from Ohio State University. She has not been able to be reached yet for comment.


4 thoughts on “Daphne Durham Steps Into Publisher Role at Amazon Vacated by Kirshbaum

  1. Pingback: Larry Kirshbaum to Leave Amazon, Daphne Durham to Take Over - GalleyCat

  2. Pingback: Publishing Opinions | Daphne Durham Steps Into Publisher Role at Amazon Vacated by Kirshbaum

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  4. Michael W. Perry

    A friend whose dad was a high-level executive at Boeing once told me that Boeing had a firm policy of not doing anything that intruded into the business space of their customers.

    Boeing could have easily refurbished a few old commercial Boeing aircraft and used them to shuttle mail, packages and employees every weekday between the plants they have scattered around the country. They’d save a lot of money and employee time. But it would have also been moving into the turf of the airlines and package freight companies that buy their planes. That they refused to do.

    Amazon in general and Steve Bezos in particular seem to lack that good business sense, in this case moving into publishing and in other cases selling products like those of many of their suppliers. That’s creating ill-will. When you’re on top and growing, that ill-will may be hidden. When you’re in trouble and headed down, clients forced to be unequal competitors will be quite happy about your troubles.

    I recall something that happened around 2000 when Apple began its recovery from near-bankruptcy. A group of hackers had been distributing illegal copies of the beta versions of its new OS X operating system. When OS X finally became commercial, they yanked their copies off line and said in essence, \Apple deserves and needs money. If you want a copy of OS X, buy it from them.\ Apple had friends.

    When Amazon hits on hard times–and hard times happen to every company–they’ll look around and discover just how few their friends are. That’ll be a somber discovery.



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