Plot thickens for Amazon with new “Thomas & Mercer” mysteries and thrillers

"Stirred," one of the launch titles for Amazon's new Thomas & Mercer publishing imprint

Amazon.com is clearly having a lot of fun naming the brands that it’s using to expand further into the world of publishing books.

Two weeks ago, the company launched “Montlake Romance,” named after the Seattle neighborhood. And the latest, announced this morning, will publish mysteries and thrillers under the name Thomas & Mercer — the streets that bound Amazon’s new corporate campus in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood.

But beneath it all is a serious move by the company to get more into the business of publishing books, not just selling and distributing them. Over time it’s a move that could give Amazon even more power in the book industry, even as it risks putting the company at odds with its key suppliers, traditional book publishers.

The trend will be particularly interesting to watch as the company tries to expand its Kindle business and secure favorable terms to publish books in electronic format. Taking over the publishing part certainly cuts down on the haggling.

Amazon now has five publishing imprints altogether.

The Seattle company says books will be published under the Thomas & Mercer imprint starting with four launch titles this fall: “Resuscitation” by D.M. Annechino, “Stirred” by J.A. Konrath and Blake Crouch, “The Immortalists” by Kyle Mills and “Already Gone” by John Rector.