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definition - HarperCollins

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Parent company News Corporation
Status Active
Founded 1989
Country of origin United Kingdom
Headquarters location New York City
Distribution Worldwide
Imprints Numerous
Official website HarperCollins.com

HarperCollins is one of the world's largest publishing companies. Headquartered in New York City, the company is a subsidiary of News Corporation. The company name is a combination of Harper & Row, an American publishing company acquired in 1987, itself the result of an earlier merger of Harper & Brothers (founded 1817) and Row, Peterson & Company; and UK publishing company William Collins, Sons (founded 1819), acquired in 1990. The worldwide CEO of HarperCollins is Brian Murray.[1] HarperCollins has publishing groups in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and India. The company publishes many different imprints, both former independent publishing houses and new imprints.



  HarperCollins UK headquarters in Hammersmith, London



  Mergers and acquisitions

In 1989, Collins was bought by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, and the publisher 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 set of flames atop waves.

In 1999, News Corporation purchased the Hearst Book Group, consisting of William Morrow & Company and Avon Books. These imprints are now published under the rubric of HarperCollins.[2]

In 2011, HarperCollins acquired the publisher Thomas Nelson (pending).[3]

  HarperCollins Publishers India

HarperCollins India is a joint venture between the India Today Group and HarperCollins, one of the top three publishers in the world. The partnership brings together the dynamism and reach of one of India’s largest media groups with the publishing experience and expertise of a premier international publishing company. This combination makes HarperCollins India a dominant publisher in Indian Subcontinent.

  Management history

Jane Friedman was CEO for HarperCollins 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.

  Notable books

HarperCollins maintains the backlist of many of the books originally published by their 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, Agatha Christie and J. R. R. Tolkien. This is a list of some of the more noted books, and series, published by HarperColllins 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.[5] 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 protege, 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, were acquired by the publisher.

HarperCollins has published the following notable children's books:


HarperCollins has over 30 book imprints, most of which are based in the United States.[6] Collins still exists as an imprint, chiefly for wildlife and natural history books, field guides, as well as 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:


  • Amistad, primarily books of African American interest, named for the storied ship La Amistad
  • Avon
    • Avon Inspire
    • Avon Red
    • Avon Romance
  • Balzer + Bray
  • Broadside Books
  • Caedmon, audiobooks
  • Collins
  • Ecco
  • Fourth Estate
  • Grafton Books
  • Greenwillow Books, children's literature
  • Harper
  • Harper Audio
  • Harper Business
  • Harper Design
  • Harper Festival
  • Harper Paperbacks
  • Harper Perennial, originally Perennial Library
  • Harper Perennial Modern Classics
  • Harper Prism, science fiction imprint (merged with Eos)
  • HarperCollins Children's Audio
  • HarperCollins Children's Books
  • HarperCollins e-Books
  • HarperCollins Speakers Bureau
  • HarperLuxe
  • HarperOne[7]
  • HarperTeen[8]
  • HarperVoyager
  • It Books
  • Mischief, all digital erotica imprint
  • William Morrow
    • Morrow Cookbooks, a highly respected series of cookbooks
  • Katherine Tegen Books
  • Rayo
  • Thomas Nelson (acquisition pending as of 2012))
  • Voyager
  • Walden Pond Press
  • Zondervan, acquired evangelical Christian publisher


  • Unwin Hyman (defunct, once known as Allen & Unwin, which is now an independent publisher)
  • Angus & Robertson
  • The Julie Andrews Collection
  • Avon A
  • Blue Door
  • Cliff Street Books
  • Collins Press
  • Collins Bartholomew, cartographic publisher
  • Collins GEM
  • EOS Books, science fiction/fantasy
  • Flamingo
  • Fontana
  • Harper & Brothers
  • Harper & Row
  • Harper Element
  • Harper Perennial Modern Thought
    • Harper San Francisco, with a focus on religious and spiritual books
  • Harper Sport
  • Harper Thorsons
  • Harper Torch
  • Harper Trophy, children's book imprint
  • Harper True
  • Marshall Pickering
  • Moonstone
  • New Naturalist
  • ReganBooks

  Business strategy

  Web approach

In order to both boost book sales and reach the online market, HarperCollins has created a browsing feature on its website, whereby customers can read selected extracts from books before purchasing.[9][10] There are some concerns among publishers with this approach because they feel that the online books could be exploited by file-sharing.[11] In addition, excerpts of books are also available to mobile phone users.[12] HarperCollins were first to market with an innovative approach to slushpile management with the introduction of the authonomy website. From 2009 to 2010, they 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.[13] It was launched in May 2005[13] as a division of HarperCollins to book paid speaking engagements for the authors HarperCollins, and its sister companies, publish. Jamie Brickhouse is the director.[14]

Some of the notable authors the HCSB represents include Carol Alt, Dennis Lehane, Gregory Maguire,[15] Danny Meyer, Mehmet Oz, Sidney Poitier, Ted Sorensen, and Kate White.


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.[16][17] HarperStudio folded in March 2010 after Miller left for Workman Publishing.[18]


  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.[19] 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."[20] 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.[21]

  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.[22] 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.[23] Murdoch's intervention caused both Proffitt's resignation from the company and outrage from international media outside of News International. Chris Patten later published with Macmillan Publishing, initially in America, where it carried the logo "The book that Rupert Murdoch refused to publish".[24] 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.[25]


In March 2011, HarperCollins announced it would distribute eBooks to libraries with DRM enabled to delete the item after being lent 26 times.[26][27] HarperCollins has drawn criticism of this plan, in particular its likening eBooks, which are purely digital, to traditional paperback trade books, which wear over time.[28][29]

  See also


  1. ^ Neyfakh, Leon (June 4, 2008). "It's Official: Jane Friedman Out at HarperCollins, Her Deputy Up 'Effective Immediately'". The New York Observer. http://www.observer.com/2008/its-official-jane-friedman-out-harpercollins-her-deputy-effective-immediately. Retrieved 26 November 2010. 
  2. ^ "News Corporation Announces Plans To Acquire William Morrow & Company And Avon Books From The Hearst Corporation". New York, NY.: News Corporation. June 17, 1999. Archived from the original on Dec 09, 2006. http://web.archive.org/web/20061209220010/http://www.newscorp.com/news/news_077.html. Retrieved 26 November 2010. 
  3. ^ "HarperCollins to Acquire Thomas Nelson". Publishers Weekly. October 31, 2011. http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/industry-deals/article/49334-harpercollins-to-acquire-thomas-nelson.html. 
  4. ^ Cameron, Lucinda (5 October 2011). The Independent (London). http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/mumpreneur-leads-collins-english-dictionary-entries-2365895.html. 
  5. ^ Marcus, Leonard S (editor) (1998). Dear Genius: The Letters of Ursula Nordstrom HarperTrophy: New York. ISBN 0-06-446235-8
  6. ^ "Company Profile, HarperCollins Publishers". http://www.harpercollins.com/footer/companyProfile.aspx?HCHP=TI_ALL. Retrieved 2010-01-24. 
  7. ^ Harperone.com
  8. ^ Harperteen.com
  9. ^ HarperCollins (Finally) Offers Free Books Online.
  10. ^ Pace, Andrew K. “Technically Speaking.” American Libraries 2006 April: 80.
  11. ^ Lowry, Tom. “Getting Out Of a Bind.” Business Week2006 April 10; 79.
  12. ^ HarperCollins Offers Books on the iPhone.
  13. ^ a b McGee, Celia. "A Way to Give Authors a Lucrative Second Platform." The New York Times, 4 June 2007. Retrieved 23 February 2009.
  14. ^ Donadio, Rachel. "More Bang for the Book." The New York Times, 27 July 2008. Retrieved 23 February 2009.
  15. ^ Nawotka, Edward. "As Speakers' Bureaus Grow, Booksellers Cast Wary Eye." Publishers' Weekly, 12 November 2007. Retrieved 23 February 2009.
  16. ^ Rich, Motoko (2008-04-04). "New HarperCollins Unit to Try to Cut Writer Advances". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/04/business/04harper.html?_r=1&oref=slogin. Retrieved 2008-04-04. 
  17. ^ Italie, Hillel (2008-04-03). "Hyperion publisher goes to HarperCollins". Associated Press. Archived from the original on 2008-04-08. http://web.archive.org/web/20080408064317/http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080403/ap_en_bu/books_publisher_switch. Retrieved 2008-04-04. 
  18. ^ Kellogg, Carolyn (2010-04-02). "That was fast: say goodbye to Harper Studio". Los Angeles Times. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/jacketcopy/2010/04/that-was-fast-say-goodbye-to-harper-studio.html. 
  19. ^ "Top Gear boss lambasts Stig book plans". BBC Online. 27 August 2010. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-11108795. Retrieved 26 November 2010. 
  20. ^ "The Stig. He’s ours". Transmission. 2010-08-27. http://transmission.blogs.topgear.com/2010/08/27/the-stig-he-is-ours/. Retrieved 26 November 2010. 
  21. ^ "Stig court case: BBC loses battle over Ben Collins book". BBC Online. 1 September 2010. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-11151777. Retrieved 26 November 2010. 
  22. ^ "Rupert Murdoch Faces Authors' Revolt.". Transmission. 1.03.1998. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/analysis/61122.stm/. Retrieved 23.01.2012. [dead link]
  23. ^ Lister, David (28 February 1998). The Independent (London). http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/bookworm-who-turned-1147399.html. Retrieved 23 January 2012. 
  24. ^ "Leveson inquiry: Rupert Murdoch 'dropped Lord Patten's book to curry favour with Chinese'". The Daily Telegraph (London). 23 January 2012. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/leveson-inquiry/9033316/Leveson-inquiry-Rupert-Murdoch-dropped-Lord-Pattens-book-to-curry-favour-with-Chinese.html. Retrieved 23 January 2012. 
  25. ^ BBC News. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-16682122 date=23 January 2012. Retrieved 23 January 2012. 
  26. ^ Bosman, Julie (2011-02-27). "A Limit on Lending E-Books". The New York Times. http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/27/a-limit-on-lending-e-books/?scp=1&sq=HarperCollins&st=cse. 
  27. ^ Kingsley, Patrick (2011-03-06). "Ebooks On Borrowed Time". The Guardian (London). http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/mar/06/ebooks-on-borrowed-time. 
  28. ^ Doctorow, Cory (2011-03-08). "Ebooks: durability is a feature, not a bug". The Guardian (London). http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2011/mar/08/ebooks-harpercollins-26-times. 
  29. ^ Page, Benedicte (2011-03-01). "Fury over 'stupid' restrictions to library ebook loans". The Guardian (London). http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/mar/01/restrictions-library-ebook-loans. 
  30. ^ [1]

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