HarperCollins Publishers LLC is one of the Big Five English-language publishing companies, alongside Penguin Random House, Simon & Schuster, Hachette, and Macmillan. The company is headquartered in New York City and is a subsidiary of News Corp. The name is a combination of several publishing firm names: Harper & Row, an American publishing company acquired in 1987—whose own name was the result of an earlier merger of Harper & Brothers (founded in 1817) and Row, Peterson & Company—together with Scottish publishing company William Collins, Sons (founded in 1819), acquired in 1989.

The worldwide CEO of HarperCollins is Brian Murray.[2] HarperCollins has publishing groups in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, India, and China. The company publishes many different imprints, both former independent publishing houses and new imprints.

History

The News Building, HarperCollins's UK headquarters in London

Collins

Harper

Mergers and acquisitions

Collins was bought by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation in 1989, and was combined with Harper & Row, which NewsCorp had acquired two years earlier. In addition to the simplified and merged name, the logo for HarperCollins was derived from the torch logo for Harper and Row, and the fountain logo for Collins, which were combined into a stylized depiction of flames atop waves.

In 1990, HarperCollins sold J. B. Lippincott & Co., its medical publishing division, to the Dutch publisher Wolters Kluwer.[3]

In 1996, HarperCollins sold Scott Foresman and HarperCollins College to Pearson, which merged them with Addison-Wesley Longman.[4]

News Corporation purchased the Hearst Book Group, consisting of William Morrow & Company and Avon Books, in 1999. These imprints are now published under the rubric of HarperCollins.[5] HarperCollins bought educational publisher Letts and Lonsdale in March 2010.[6]

In 2011, HarperCollins announced they had agreed to acquire the publisher Thomas Nelson.[7] The purchase was completed on July 11, 2012, with an announcement that Thomas Nelson would operate independently given the position it has in Christian book publishing.[8] Both Thomas Nelson and Zondervan were then organized as imprints, or "keystone publishing programs," under a new division, HarperCollins Christian Publishing.[9][10] Key roles in the reorganization were awarded to former Thomas Nelson executives.[11]

In 2012, HarperCollins acquired part of the trade operations of John Wiley & Son in Canada.[12]

In 2014, HarperCollins acquired Canadian romance publisher Harlequin Enterprises for C$455 million.[13]

In 2018, HarperCollins acquired the business publisher Amacom from the American Management Association.[14]

In 2020, HarperCollins acquired the children's publishers Egmont Books UK, Egmont Poland and Schneiderbuch Germany from the Egmont Group.[15]

On March 29, 2021, HarperCollins announced that it would acquire HMH Books & Media, the trade publishing division of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, for $349 million. The deal would allow HMH to pay down its debt and focus on digital education.[16] The deal was completed on May 10.[17] As of July 7, 2021, HMH's adult books will be published as Mariner Books, while HMH's children's books will be published as Clarion Books.[18]

In 2022 HarperCollins acquired Cider Mill Press.[19]

Management history

Brian Murray,[20] the current CEO of HarperCollins, succeeded Jane Friedman who was CEO from 1997 to 2008. Notable management figures include Lisa Sharkey, current senior vice president and director of creative development and Barry Winkleman from 1989 to 1994.

United States v. Apple Inc.

In April 2012, the United States Department of Justice filed United States v. Apple Inc., naming Apple, HarperCollins, and four other major publishers as defendants. The suit alleged that they conspired to fix prices for e-books, and weaken Amazon.com's position in the market, in violation of antitrust law.[21]

In December 2013, a federal judge approved a settlement of the antitrust claims, in which HarperCollins and the other publishers paid into a fund that provided credits to customers who had overpaid for books due to the price-fixing.[22]

US warehouse closings

On November 5, 2012, HarperCollins announced to employees privately and then later in the day publicly that it was closing its remaining two US warehouses, to merge shipping and warehousing operations with R. R. Donnelley in Indiana. The Scranton, Pennsylvania, warehouse closed in September 2013 and a Nashville, Tennessee, warehouse, under the name Thomas Nelson (which distributes the religious arm of HarperCollins/Zondervan Books), in the winter of 2013. Several office positions and departments continued to work for HarperCollins in Scranton, but in a new location.[23]

The Scranton warehouse closing eliminated about 200 jobs, and the Nashville warehouse closing eliminated up to 500 jobs; the exact number of distribution employees is unknown.[24]

HarperCollins previously closed two US warehouses, one in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, in 2011 and another in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 2012.[25] "We have taken a long-term, global view of our print distribution and are committed to offering the broadest possible reach for our authors," said HarperCollins Chief Executive Brian Murray, according to Publishers Weekly. "We are retooling the traditional distribution model to ensure we can competitively offer the entire HarperCollins catalog to customers regardless of location." Company officials attribute the closings and mergers to the rapidly growing demand for e-book formats and the decline in print purchasing.[citation needed]

Internet Archive lawsuit

In June 2020, HarperCollins was one of a group of publishers who sued the Internet Archive, arguing that its collection of e-books was denying authors and publishers revenue and accusing the library of "willful mass copyright infringement".[26]

Lindsay Lohan lawsuit

In September 2020, HarperCollins sued Lindsay Lohan for entering into a book deal and collecting a $350,000 advance for a tell-all memoir that never materialized.[27]

Anne Frank's betrayal

A 2022 book written by Rosemary Sullivan, with HarperCollins as main publisher, designated a Jewish notary as the most likely suspect in Anne Frank's betrayal. The conclusion was challenged by experts. The notary's family members threatened a lawsuit and started a foundation. The Dutch publisher withdrew the book, but HarperCollins has not taken any definitive decision.[28]

UAW Strike

On November 10, 2022, approximately 250 unionized workers at HarperCollins began an indefinite strike.[29] The Local 2110 of the United Auto Workers union includes people in design, marketing, publicity and sales for the company. UAW made the decision to strike after drawn-out negotiations between the union and HarperCollins, which has resulted in members "working without a contract since April".[30] According to a spokesperson, HarperCollins “has agreed to a number of proposals that the United Auto Workers Union is seeking to include in a new contract”, and "is disappointed an agreement has not been reached" but "will continue to negotiate in good faith".[29]

As of November 14, 2022, the strike is ongoing.

Noted books

HarperCollins maintains the backlist of many of the books originally published by its many merged imprints, in addition to having picked up new authors since the merger. Authors published originally by Harper include Mark Twain, the Brontë sisters, and William Makepeace Thackeray. Authors published originally by Collins include H. G. Wells and Agatha Christie. HarperCollins also acquired the publishing rights to J. R. R. Tolkien's work in 1990 when Unwin Hyman was bought. This is a list of some of the more noted books and series published by HarperCollins and their various imprints and merged publishing houses.

Harper children's books

Children's book editor Ursula Nordstrom was the director of Harper's Department of Books for Boys and Girls from 1940 to 1973, overseeing the publication of classics such as Goodnight Moon, Where the Wild Things Are, The Giving Tree, Charlotte's Web, Beverly Cleary's series starring Ramona Quimby, and Harold and the Purple Crayon. They were the publishing home of Maurice Sendak, Shel Silverstein, and Margaret Wise Brown.[32] In 1998, Nordstrom's personal correspondence was published as Dear Genius: The Letters of Ursula Nordstrom (illustrated by Maurice Sendak), edited by Charlotte Zolotow. Zolotow began her career as a stenographer to Nordstrom, became her protégé, and went on to write more than 80 books and edit hundreds of others, including Nordstrom's The Secret Language and the works of Paul Fleischman. Zolotow later became head of the children's books department, and went on to become the company's first female vice president.

The Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis, while not originally published by a merged imprint of HarperCollins, was acquired by the publisher.[33]

HarperCollins has published these notable children's books:

Imprints

HarperCollins has more than 120 book imprints, most of which are based in the United States.[35] Collins still exists as an imprint, chiefly for wildlife and natural history books, field guides, as well as for English and bilingual dictionaries based on the Bank of English, a large corpus of contemporary English texts.

HarperCollins imprints (current and defunct, including imprints that existed prior to various mergers) include:

Current

Adult

  • Amistad Press, primarily books of African-American interest, named for the storied ship La Amistad; launched as an independent imprint in 1986 by Charles F. Harris (1934–2015), it merged with HarperCollins in 1999.[36][37][38]
  • Harlequin Enterprises
    • Carina Press
    • Graydon House Books
    • Hanover Square Press
    • Harlequin Teen
    • Harlequin Kimani Arabesque
    • Harlequin Kimani TRU
    • Harlequin Kimani Press
    • Harlequin Luna
    • HQN
    • Mira
    • Park Row Books
    • Rogue Angel
    • Silhouette Special Releases
    • Spice
    • Worldwide Mystery
  • Harper
    • Broadside Books (American conservative imprint)[39]
    • Ecco
    • Harper Business[40][41][42]
    • Fontana Books
    • Harper Design
    • Harper Hardcover
    • Harper Paperbacks
      • Bourbon Street Books
    • Harper Perennial, originally Perennial Library
      • Harper Perennial Modern Classics
    • HarperLuxe (Large print)[43]
    • HarperImpulse (Digital first imprint)
    • HarperTrue (Non Fiction digital first)
    • HarperOne[44]
    • HarperVoyager, formerly Voyager, HarperCollins's worldwide science-fiction and fantasy imprint, combining the UK imprint HarperCollins Science Fiction & Fantasy (which had inherited the sci-fi and fantasy list of Collins's Grafton Books and its predecessors (Granada, Panther), as well as J. R. R. Tolkien's books from the acquisition of George Allen & Unwin) and the US imprint Eos (from the acquisition of Avon Books, which incorporated the former Harper Prism)
    • Mariner Books
    • Killer Reads (digital first Crime & Thriller imprint)
    • One More Chapter Books (Digital first Crime & Thriller imprint)
    • HarperWave
    • Harper Muse[45]
  • HarperCollins Focus[46]
    • Blink
    • Harper Celebrate
    • Harper Horizon
    • HarperCollins Leadership[47]
      • Amacom
    • Harper Muse
  • HarperCollins UK
  • William Morrow
    • Avon
      • Avon Red
      • Avon Romance
      • Mischief (digital imprint)
    • Custom House (since 2015, led by Geoff Shandler)[50]
    • Dey Street (formerly It Books)[51]
    • Witness
    • William Morrow Paperbacks
    • Morrow Cookbooks, a highly respected series of cookbooks

Children

  • HarperCollins Children's Books
    • Harper Festival, a publisher of novelty books founded in 1992[52]
    • HarperTeen[53]
    • HarperTeen Impulse (digital imprint)
    • HarperTrophy
    • Amistad
    • Balzer + Bray
    • Collins
    • Clarion Books
    • Greenwillow Books
    • HMH Books for Young Readers
    • Katherine Tegen Books
    • Walden Pond Press
    • Blink Young Adult
  • Farshore (formerly Egmont Books UK)
    • Electric Monkey

Christian

  • Thomas Nelson
    • Grupo Nelson
    • Nelson Books
    • Tommy Nelson
    • W Publishing Group
    • WestBow Press
  • Zondervan
    • Editorial Vida
    • Zonderkidz
    • Zondervan Academic
    • Zondervan Reflective

Audio

  • HarperAudio
  • Caedmon, audiobooks
  • HarperCollins Children's Audio

Bureau

Digital

  • HarperCollins e-Books
  • HarperCollins Productions

Defunct

Business strategy

2008 conference booth

Web approach

In 2008, HarperCollins launched a browsing feature on its website to allow customers can read selected excerpts from books before purchasing, on both desktop and mobile browsers.[56][57][58] This functionality gave the publisher's website the ability to compete with physical bookstores, in which customers can typically look at the book itself, and Amazon's use of excerpts ("teasers") for online book purchasers.[56]

At the beginning of October 2013, the company announced a partnership with online digital library Scribd. The official statement revealed that the "majority" of the HarperCollins US and HarperCollins Christian catalogs will be available in Scribd's subscription service. Chantal Restivo-Alessi, chief digital officer at HarperCollins, explained to the media that the deal represents the first time that the publisher has released such a large portion of its catalog.[59]

HarperCollins formerly operated authonomy, an online community of authors, from 2008 to 2015. The website offered an alternative to the traditional "slush pile" approach for handling unsolicited manuscripts sent to a publisher with little chance of being reviewed. Using authonomy, authors could submit their work for peer review and ranking by other members; the five highest-ranked manuscripts each month would be read by HarperCollins editors for potential publication. The site was closed after authors "learned to game the system" to earn top-five rankings, and fewer authonomy titles were selected to be published.[60]

From 2009 to 2010, HarperCollins operated Bookarmy, a social networking site.

Speakers Bureau

The HarperCollins Speakers Bureau (also known as HCSB) is the first lecture agency to be created by a major publishing house.[61] It was launched in May 2005[61] as a division of HarperCollins to book paid speaking engagements for the authors HarperCollins, and its sister companies, publish. Andrea Rosen is the director.[62]

Some of the notable authors the HCSB represents include Carol Alt, Dennis Lehane, Gregory Maguire,[63] Danny Meyer, Mehmet Oz, Sidney Poitier, Ted Sorensen, and Kate White.

HarperAcademic

HarperAcademic is the academic marketing department of HarperCollins. HarperAcademic provides instructors with the latest in adult titles for course adoption at the high school and college level, as well as titles for first-year and other common read programs at academic institutions. They also attend several major academic conferences to showcase new titles for academic professionals.

HarperAcademic Calling, a podcast produced by the department, provides interviews with authors of noteworthy titles.

HarperStudio

HarperCollins announced HarperStudio in 2008 as a "new, experimental unit... that will eliminate the traditional profit distributions to authors. The long-established author advances and bookseller returns has not proved to be very profitable to either the author or the publisher. The approach HarperStudio is now taking is to offer little or no advance, but instead to split the profit 50% (rather than the industry standard 15%), with the author." The division was headed by Bob Miller, previously the founding publisher of Hyperion, the adult books division of the Walt Disney Company.[64][65] HarperStudio folded in March 2010 after Miller left for Workman Publishing.[66]

HarperCollins India

HarperCollins Publishers India Pvt Ltd. is a wholly owned subsidiary of HarperCollins Worldwide. It came into being in 1992.

Controversies

If I Did It

If I Did It was a book written by O. J. Simpson about his alleged murder of Nicole Simpson, which was planned as a HarperCollins title, and which attracted considerable controversy and a legal battle over publication.

Ben Collins

In August 2010, the company became embroiled in a legal battle with the BBC after a book it was due to publish, later identified as the forthcoming autobiography of racing driver Ben Collins, revealed the identity of The Stig from Top Gear.[67] In his blog, Top Gear executive producer Andy Wilman accused HarperCollins of "hoping to cash in" on the BBC's intellectual property, describing the publishers as "a bunch of chancers".[68] On September 1, the BBC's request for an injunction preventing the book from being published was turned down, effectively confirming the book's revelation that "The Stig" was indeed Collins.[69]

East and West

The company became embroiled in controversy in 1998 after it was revealed it blocked Chris Patten's (the last British governor of Hong Kong) book East and West after a direct intervention by the then-CEO of News International, Rupert Murdoch.[70] It was later revealed by Stuart Proffitt, the editor who had worked on the book for HarperCollins, that this intervention was designed to appease the Chinese authorities—of whom the book was critical—as Murdoch intended to extend his business empire into China and did not wish to cause problems there by allowing the book to be published.[71]

Murdoch's intervention caused both Proffitt's resignation from the company and outrage from the international media apart from affiliated companies. Chris Patten later published with Macmillan Publishing, initially in America, where it carried the logo "The book that Rupert Murdoch refused to publish".[72] After a successful legal campaign against HarperCollins, Patten went on to publish the book in the UK in September 1998 after accepting a sum of £500,000 and receiving an apology from Rupert Murdoch.[73]

Ebooks

In March 2011, HarperCollins announced it would distribute ebooks to libraries with DRM enabled to delete the item after being lent 26 times.[74][75] HarperCollins has drawn criticism of this plan, in particular its likening of ebooks, which are purely digital, to traditional paperback trade books, which wear over time.[76][77]

Omission of Israel from an atlas

In December 2014, The Tablet reported that an atlas published for Middle East schools did not label Israel on a map of the Middle East.[78] A representative for Collins Bartholomew, a subsidiary of HarperCollins that specializes in maps, explained that including Israel would have been "unacceptable" to their customers in the Arab states of the Persian Gulf and the omission was in line with "local preferences".[79] The company later apologized and destroyed all the books.[80]

What the (Bleep) Just Happened?

HarperCollins announced in January 2017 that they would discontinue selling copies of Monica Crowley's book What the (Bleep) Just Happened?, due to allegations of plagiarism.[81] The 2012 book had lifted passages from a number of sources including columns, news articles and think tank reports.[81] HarperCollins said in a statement to CNN's KFile, "The book which has reached the end of its natural sales cycle, will no longer be offered for purchase until such time as the author has the opportunity to source and revise the material."[81]

See also

References

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External links