That was fast: say goodbye to Harper Studio

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HarperStudio, the forward-thinking imprint at HarperCollins, will close. It was announced today that it will release its final books this summer and its remaining staff will be absorbed by other imprints at Harper Collins, reports Publishers Marketplace[registration required]. Publisher Bob Miller announced March 17 that he’d be departing for Workman Publishing; with no clear successor named, HarperStudio seemed headed toward limbo.

HarperStudio was a laboratory for some of publishing’s newest ideas: low advances and high profit splits; increased branding around the publisher itself; and an open and engaged online presence. What does the demise of the 2-year-old imprint say for publishing in general?


It depends on how you see things. Having a publishing-is-dying kind of day? Then read it this way: HarperCollins tried to innovate but didn’t give its little imprint enough time to prove that any of its experiments could work. Or maybe the corporate culture of the parent never allowed the imprint to be as sassy as it intended. Either way, the big company will go back to business as usual, leaving the experiments of HarperStudio behind for the rubbish bin.

But maybe this is the kind of day where things are looking brighter. It’s a good sign that everyone from HarperStudio will find a home somewhere under the HarperCollins tent -- they’ve got to be bringing some of their experiences with them. Or even more optimistically, maybe HarperCollins doesn’t need HarperStudio anymore because its best lessons have already been adopted.

-- Carolyn Kellogg