Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Harlequin Launches eBook Boutique & Announces Birth of the Harlequin Mini!

Toronto, Ontario, August 22, 2006 - Harlequin Enterprises Limited(http://www.eharlequin.com/), the global leader in series romance and one of the world's leading publishers of women's fiction, today announced the launch of four digital entertainment ventures, specifically: Harlequin Mini ™ eBooks, Harlequin Mini™ Round Robin eBooks, the launch of the eBook Boutique on eHarlequin.com and http://www.writeharlequin.com/, a platform for gathering reader-generated content.
"Harlequin is the brand in publishing that is trusted by women around the world to provide them with great entertainment," says Donna Hayes, Publisher and CEO of Harlequin Enterprises Limited. "We are uniquely positioned to serve their needs and offer entertainment in new digital formats. Put simply, a lot of women are already there, and those who aren't trust us to help them navigate the evolving digital space."
"The modern romance reader has gone digital," says Pam Laycock, Executive Vice President of Harlequin's New Business Development department. "She demands the portability, depth, breadth, immediacy and convenience of romance novels in downloadable formats." Ms. Laycock illustrates this fact by pointing to the success of the company's eBooks on the bestseller lists of many eBook Web sites, including eReader.com, where Harlequin titles out-performed The Da Vinci Code just prior to the release of the film.
Responding to reader demand for even more romance fiction in a digital format, Harlequin is launching the Harlequin Mini eBook. These are short-series eBooks written by Harlequin authors, including New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling writers—ideal for readers who want a "quick fix" but don't have the time for a longer novel. "No other publisher is doing anything like this," says Malle Vallik, Editorial Director of Harlequin's New Business Development department. "These delicious ‘bite-size' stories are exclusive to eHarlequin.com's eBook Boutique." Ten Harlequin Mini eBooks will be available during the August launch of the imprint. Four new Harlequin Mini eBooks will appear every month thereafter. Each story costs only 99¢ to download.
The Harlequin Mini Round Robin eBook is an outcome of Harlequin's collaboration with its readers. These stories are launched by a published author, and subsequent chapters are created—and hotly competed for—by fans and aspiring writers. Many of Harlequin's talented new voices have been discovered through this interactive round robin challenge, including launch author Mia Zachary. The popular Writing Round Robin has been a feature of eHarlequin.com since 2000. This is the first time it will be available as an eBook. As a special introduction, the Harlequin Mini Round Robin eBook will initially be available for free download.
Harlequin Enterprises Limited is at the leading edge of digital publishing, offering about 40 new titles every month in eBook format. As of today, all of these titles will be available in the new eBook Boutique at http://ebooks.eharlequin.com/. It will be the exclusive eRetailer for the Harlequin Mini and Harlequin Mini Round Robin eBooks. eBooks from the eHarlequin Boutique will be available in three formats—Adobe PDF, Microsoft Reader and Mobipocket.
"Harlequin has an unmatched involvement, engagement and participation with its readers," says Pam Laycock. "Because of this intimate relationship, Harlequin is going beyond reader participation in the Round Robin to tap the creativity and wisdom of our global community via http://www.writeharlequin.com/. We ask such burning questions as What Is Love? or What Was Your Worst Date Ever? and anyone and everyone can send in responses. A collection of the most appealing answers will be published in a digital format early in 2007 and then later as a print version."
Harlequin's drive to develop and offer more content in more ways furthers the company's digital strategy, which also includes downloadable audio from Audible.com (http://www.audible.com/), the leading provider of digitally delivered spoken-word audio, and the Harlequin On the Go™ mobile phone content subscription service (HarlequinOnTheGo.com). Readers can keep up with further digital developments on a blog written by a Harlequin vice president at http://www.isabelsblog.com/ or http://isabelswift.blogspot.com/.
About eHARLEQUIN.COM The eHarlequin.com community provides Harlequin with an outstanding opportunity to speak directly to its readers around the world on message boards, in chat rooms and through author blogs. Whether looking to buy the latest books, reading original stories from bestselling authors, or sharing the love of reading with other readers and authors, eHarlequin.com visitors will discover the ultimate online women's fiction experience.

About HARLEQUIN ENTERPRISES LIMITEDHarlequin Enterprises Limited is the global leader in series romance and one of the world's leading publishers of women's fiction, with titles issued worldwide in 25 languages and sold in 94 international markets. The company produces over 115 titles monthly and publishes more than 1,300 authors from around the world. Harlequin Enterprises Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of Torstar Corporation, a broadly based media company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TS.B). Harlequin's Web site is located at http://www.eharlequin.com/. Harlequin has offices in 18 countries, including Toronto, New York and London. For more information please visit http://www.eharlequin.com/ or press.eHarlequin.com.
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For more information, contact:
Don Lucey
Assistant Manager, Public Relations Communications
Harlequin Enterprises Limited
(416) 445-5860