Monday, January 30, 2006

Wouldn't you like to know...

This was snapped last summer as Malle, Mary and Pam headed into the amazing (as always) Harlequin party at the Book Expo America convention (BEA, old acronym ABA). Harlequin throws the party for our booksellers and trade partners in order to thank them for all they do to get our stories on the racks, in the stores, selling and hitting bestseller lists— 188 weeks in 2005, a record for us!

BEA 2005 was a great event for the NBD team—we had a lot going on. For starters, we announced the launch of Harlequin Ginger Blossom MANGA (MANGA is another word for Japanese-style graphic novels). They’re in Special Releases at—you can learn the secret reading pattern of MANGA comics and actually turn a few sample pages right online. It is really pretty cool.

Our licensee, Dark Horse Comics, translated titles previously published in Japan by our Japanese MANGA publisher. It’s a great opportunity to bring Harlequin stories to a whole new audience. We’ve created two lines—Harlequin Ginger Blossom Pink is for a younger reader—girls 12 and above, and Harlequin Ginger Blossom Violet for a slightly older reader—girls 16 and up. The two titles are out now: Response by Penny Jordan and Girl in a Million by Betty Neels, and four more are scheduled for the first half of this year. Mary is our MANGA Maven.

Toot: When a journalist on a BEA panel on Shojo MANGA (comics for girls) was asked “what’s the big news in MANGA at the BEA” he said, “Harlequin’s launching a MANGA line.” Really. Take that Frank Miller and Harvey Pekar!

We also had a chance to attend the IDPF (ready? International Digital Publishing Forum. Hey, it used to be the OEBF) and meet all the key players in the e-book world in preparation for our e-book launch in October. There are still a number of challenges with e-books—multiple formats, downloading issues and the audience is not large—but there’s a wonderful spirit and determination in the e-book world to make this work, which is great to see & fun to be part of.

Malle has been doing an amazing job developing the e-book program, working with each e-Retailer, getting our titles “racked” in the e-book stores in the same special way they are in retail stores. Harlequin is a unique publisher in terms of the strength of our brands, in the consistent quality of our stories—which keeps our readers coming back for more—and our close connection with our customers/readers. These unique strengths, coupled with the convenience of e-books could help build the market. Imagine having all six of Silhouette Bombshells “The It Girls” (concept: Paris Hilton & her friends are kick-ass spies!)—in your tiny Kate Spade clutch. You can click through on the eHarlequin store!

I’m also going to be participating in a discussion thread in the eHarlequin community on film and TV. I’m hoping to get suggestions on which Harlequin titles I should be pitching to be considered by production companies to be made into movies, so please stop by and help out with ideas.

Those are just a few of thing we’re up to. I am new at this Blogging experience, but hope to post at least weekly. Stay tuned for audio, mobile, Kimani Romance, and whatever else I feel like talking about!


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