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HarperCollins UK boss wants to take back publishing from smaller digital rivals
November 25, 2013 | 12:15 pm

publishingLast week’s The Bookseller’s FutureBook conference sparked some interesting publishing comments from HarperCollins UK CEO Charlie Redmayne. The comments show some publishers still don’t get it. The story begins with an interview in The Guardian, previewing Redmayne’s remarks and it started strong. In essence, Redmayne looked to empower publishes to do more rather than rest on what’s in the digital publishing world now. But the first sentence in his quote took aback many readers, authors and others. "Publishers have historically been the most innovative and creative of organizations," he said. "But I think that when it came to the digital revolution we came to...

HarperCollins’s comments on C.S. Lewis, Narnia portals
October 31, 2013 | 4:04 pm

harpercollinsFollowing my earlier report on the launch of  HarperCollins's two portals specific to C.S. Lewis and the Narnia franchise, offering direct book and ebook sales to the public in conjunction with Accenture technology, a HarperCollins spokesperson contacted me with further comment and clarification. Here are the replies provided to my questions: TeleRead: What is HarperCollins's intention in this project? What plans do you have to expand it in future? HarperCollins: This is something we did in partnership with the estate. It was something they asked for and is a service we can provide to authors. TeleRead: How can selling direct to customers through...

HarperCollins attempts alternative to Amazon, allies with Accenture
October 30, 2013 | 12:30 pm

harpercollinsHarperCollins is planning to sell its ebooks directly to customers through its own "end-to-end e-commerce and direct to consumer distribution solution," according to a press release just issued by Accenture, the "global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company" which will operate the new platform for them. Yes, it's a Big Five publisher's attempt to create an own-brand own-list alternative to Amazon's Kindle Story, the Kobo Store, the Nook Book Store, etc, etc. And "the project will commence with the launch of HarperCollins’ and today." At present, I don't see any release or announcement from HarperCollins themselves to back...

Victoria Barnsley’s HarperCollins exit and the content conundrum
July 6, 2013 | 2:05 pm

HarperCollinsVictoria Barnsley, Chief Executive and Publisher at HarperCollins UK since 2000, announced her unexpected exit earlier this week. According to the report in the UK's The Bookseller, expanded on the circumstances and on her own view of her profession in a valedictory speech at the annual HarperCollins author party, held this year in the Orangery of  Kensington Palace. (My thanks to author and illustrator David O'Connell for his picture of the party.) In this, she called for her peers to keep their focus on publishing as a content business, not a media business. As quoted by The Bookseller, Barnsley said: "My advice to publishers,...

Charlie Redmayne steps down as Pottermore CEO to become HarperCollins CEO
July 2, 2013 | 7:53 pm

On paidContent, Laura Hazard Owen reports that Charlie Redmayne has just boarded the Hogwarts Express to take him back to the land of the muggles. He’s stepping down as CEO of Pottermore and taking the CEO helm of HarperCollins. Prior to helping found Pottermore in 2011, Redmayne was EVP and chief digital officer for HarperCollins. One reason for the change is that Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp just spun its publishing arm, including HC, off into a separate company, and the previous CEO, Victoria Barnsley, felt it was a good time to leave. Pottermore’s CTO Julian Thomas will serve as...

HarperCollins announces BookSmash app contest as Big Book tries to take back the tech
June 10, 2013 | 11:22 am

BookSmashIn the latest push by Big Publishing to win back ground lost to digital disruption, Big Six house HarperCollins has announced a competition, BookSmash, for developers "to create excellent, functioning software and proof of concept apps utilizing the HarperCollins OpenBook API." The competition comes with a first prize of $15,000. "It is an incredibly exciting time to be a reader, an author, and a publisher," declares the HarperCollins intro to the competition. "Opportunities to engage audiences are endless—new devices now support numerous ways of reading, publishing, and reaching readers." Perhaps HarperCollins has had a hard time capturing a share of that excitement...

Pay to play: Would you pay to browse for books?
February 12, 2013 | 2:00 pm

Would you pay to browse a bookstore's shelves? Victoria Barnsley, CEO of HarperCollins UK & International, discussed that concept during a recent interview on BBC's The Bottom Line with Evan Davis. "In America, certain shoe shops are charging to try on shoes. These people just go in, try them on and go and order them online,” Barnsley said. “I think the idea of a bookshop becoming a book club is not that insane, actually. You actually pay for the privilege of browsing.” Pay to browse. In a bookshop. [caption id="attachment_78843" align="alignright" width="161"] Victoria Barnsley, HarperCollins UK and Int'l CEO[/caption] The idea seemed crazy coming out of...

HarperCollins Christian Publishing Joins the Espresso Book Machine Network
February 3, 2013 | 5:12 pm

Espresso Book Machine On Demand Books As an unabashed vending machine fanatic and someone who's been involved with the publishing industry for the better part of my adult life, I've long been intrigued by the Espresso Book Machine, owned by On Demand Books. There are currently more than seven million titles available in On Demand Books’ digital network, and on January 30, HarperCollins Christian Publishing joined the Espresso Book Machine program, making its titles available through EBM’s "digital-to-print at retail" sales channel. (HarperCollins' six-month-old expanded Christian publishing division is comprised of two formerly independent publishers, Thomas Nelson and Zondervan.) “Christian and inspirational content is an ideal fit for the EBM," said Dane Neller, CEO...

Johnny Depp Starts New Literary Imprint at Harper
October 18, 2012 | 9:37 pm

Johnny Depp starts literary imprint Infinitum Nihil  Having hacked his way through adversaries playing screen roles like Captain Jack Sparrow and Sweeney Todd, Johnny Depp will now be slicing into manuscripts (ideally with a red pen, and not with a cutlass or a razor blade) as he starts his own literary imprint. The Harper imprint of HarperCollins Publishers said on Tuesday that it was creating a new list of books, called Infinitum Nihil, that will publish titles reflecting Mr. Depp’s eclectic tastes and interests. Read Full Article ... Source: New York Times * * * Follow us on Twitter @TeleRead Join us at

What does the News Corp split mean for HarperCollins?
July 3, 2012 | 9:15 am

Under pressure from News Corp’s upper management, Rupert Murdoch has lately agreed to divide News Corp up into two corporations—one that contains the corporation’s entertainment assets, and the other to contain its newspaper and publishing assets—including “Big Six”/”Agency Five” publisher HarperCollins. Murdoch will remain in charge of both new companies. Attempting to put the best spin on it he could, Murdoch said the split would “create the most ambitious, well-capitalized and highly motivated publishing company in the world, consisting of the largest collection of our news and publishing brands, as well as our groundbreaking digital education group”. ...

HarperCollins takes aim at teenagers with Epic Reads
June 16, 2012 | 11:52 am

screen-shot-2012-06-15-at-9-42-50-amHarperCollins recently announced a program to make all English-language e-book titles available around the world (and it’s about time, too!), but that’s not the only new initiative it’s launched lately. Another one is called “Epic Reads”, and is a digital community site aimed at getting teenagers connected with HarperTeen authors and books. Apart from the main “Epic Reads” site, there are also subsites focused on dystopian and paranormal fiction, or romance, realistic, and contemporary fiction. The sites feature integration with social networks, homepages for authors, and forums. The site is a bit bare-bones at this point, but HarperCollins has...

RIP Jean C. George, 92
May 18, 2012 | 12:10 am

jcg_portraitGalleycat reports that children’s author Jean C. George has passed away at the age of 92. George is best known for her books Julie of the Wolves and My Side of the Mountain, the latter of which was one of the mainstays of my childhood reading. I will forever regret never having the chance to meet Mrs. George and tell her how much her book meant to me. (But given how many others did have that chance, I’m sure she already knew.) More recently, George was in the news as a result of her decision to license the e-book...

Paulo Coelho talks HarperCollins into 99-cent sale on his e-books
May 3, 2012 | 4:27 am

Best-selling author Paulo Coelho blogs that he has managed to talk publisher HarperCollins into offering ten of his eleven novels for 99 cents each. (The single exception is his best-known work, The Alchemist.) The promotion is valid for the USA and Canada only (though he is in talks with his Spanish and Portugese publishers to offer a similar deal), and is in effect in the Kindle, Nook, and iBooks stores. Coelho writes: This is a crucial decision for me. For years I have been advocating that free content is not a thread (sic) to the book...

Judge stays price-fixing class-action suit against Hachette, HarperCollins
May 3, 2012 | 4:13 am

PaidContent reports that a judge has stayed an e-book price-fixing class-action case against publishers Hachette and HarperCollins on the grounds that the publishers are close to settling with state governments over the matter, and the states’ lawsuits trump the class action. Apart from Macmillan and Penguin, who are fighting the suit, Simon & Schuster wasn’t named because it has not signed a formal settlement memorandum yet. This is hardly a surprise, of course, but it’s understandable that the plaintiffs would find this a bit disappointing; damage awards would likely be higher in a jury trial than in a state...

The other Amazon-publisher disagreement: print on demand
April 29, 2012 | 2:02 pm

Everyone is paying attention to the e-book pricing fight against Amazon right now, but Bloomberg Businessweek reports there’s another disagreement going on between Amazon and the publishers behind the scenes that nobody has really noticed: the question of print on demand. Amazon already offers its own print on demand services, used for mainly for small independent or self-publishing, and the technology has gotten a lot better over the fifteen years since it was introduced—print-on-demand titles are by now largely indistinguishable from large-print-run paperbacks. The rub is that Amazon would like to expand its print-on-demand operations so that it can print copies of...

Publishing industry stalked by ‘creative destruction’
April 18, 2012 | 11:39 pm

wrecking-ballFormer publishing-industry executive and subsequent business-sales-focused lawyer Martin Levin has a very interesting post on Publishing Perspectives looking at the economic theory of “creative destruction” and what it might mean for the publishing industry. In a nutshell, “creative destruction” means that as new business models are created, they effectively destroy the older models. Levin brings up a number of examples of publishing businesses and assets that have lost considerable value over the last few years. HarperCollins bought religious publisher Thomas Nelson for $200 million in 2011, but its prior owner, Intermedia, had paid $473 million for it only five...

Big Six publishers decline to renew contract with Amazon over unfavorable terms
April 10, 2012 | 3:39 am

Salon Magazine has an extremely lengthy story looking at Amazon, and bringing up a couple of points I hadn’t heard about before. In main, the article looks at Amazon’s habit of making quiet but substantial grants to various small independent publishing organizations, totaling about $1 million per year. Is it done to support indie publishing, or silence Amazon’s most strident critics? The Salon piece is more even-handed than the last article I covered on this theme. But the really interesting part is actually buried in the second section of the article, which mentions something I hadn’t heard elsewhere: Salon claims that...

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