In mid-August, Harlequin, a Toronto-based publisher of books for women, announced it was going to make its first digital efforts. All e-books that will be published in the coming months will all be originals. Each division involved (Harlequin, Harlequin Teen, Harlequin Mira and Harlequin HQN) has their own goals for the first year, whether it’s to publish an e-book every month to every other month. A new program will also launch, Harlequin-E, and publish across various genres and feature stories that have a minimum word count of 10,000.
Executive VP of Global Editorial at Harlequin, Loriana Sacilotto said “The challenge in the digital marketplace is in finding ways to make titles stand out.”
Harlequin seems to have waited a few years before it decided to take the dive into digital publishing. This may, and hopefully, will work to their advantage. Harlequin has a plan set for each division with how many books will be published for 2014; Harlequin-E has a goal for the first quarter of 2014 since the endeavor beings this fall rather than January of next year. These numbers have also been taken into careful consideration, which may be why it took Harlequin a while before they decided to pursue the risk.
As we’ve learned in our readings and lectures, the challenge in the digital marketplace is trying to scale to your audience. With so much content available in the digital world, whether it’s Amazon, Google or any other online open source or marketplace, how to you shuffle through the collection of titles? From our reading in “The Book: The Life Story of a Technology” by Nicole Howard, I remember it said that publishers would print their logo or seal in the cover of books to distinguish which publishers books came from. Ms. Sacilotto stated that publishing under the Harlequin brand is “a powerful attraction for readers,” which is proof that today’s readers, like those during the Gutenberg-era and the expansion of the printing press thereafter, still hold value to trustworthy and quality publishers.
Hopefully Harlequin will be successful in their digital endeavors and their numbers of digital titles they publish will grow.