Monday, July 31, 2006

Harlequin Highlights

As promised, I'm starting to go through the volume of "stuff" I gathered at the Publisher's Showcase I attended last Thursday. Since I primarily blather on about romance, I'll start with Harlequin - the presentation I was most disappointed in. By and large, most librarians are incredibly clueless about romance, so I really feel you have to give these folks a good dog and pony show. You have to spell it out for them - like teaching a kid to look both ways before crossing the street. Honestly, I think a lot of this stems from the fact that Harlequin has no clue how to market to libraries. It's not the same as retail or direct to consumer. Those markets one has to be concerned about cost - take it from me, librarians would love more hard cover offerings from Harlequin! It "legitimizes" the genre (yeah, I know it shouldn't - but thems the breaks) and many libraries do not purchase paperbacks with the same ferocity as hard cover titles. But Harlequin isn't asking for my help - although they should because I am Queen Librarian Of The Universe.

So what did I actually learn? Here it goes:
  • They're really excited about Kimani Press and were really high on it. In fact, they'll be launching Kimani Tru next year - a YA line catering to African American teens. I think this sounds terribly interesting, and coming from my experience, there needs to be more "non-white" YA titles out there. It's gotten loads better since I was a teen, but there is still a long way to go!
  • They're still pushing their new manga imprints pretty hard. Frankly I think they're going "too old fashioned" with their authors if they want to reach a hipper audience - but what do I know? You manga readers tell me - is there a market for sweeter stories in manga?
  • The presenter actually said that she felt the Spice line wasn't erotic enough. I've only read one title in the line so far, and have to say I agree with her. It was kinda like erotica on training wheels. That said, I have the August title, The Blonde Geisha, waiting in my review TBR stack. Can't very well judge the whole line by one title now can I?
  • Harlequin Romance, Love Inspired, Harlequin SuperRomance and Harlequin Intrigue are currently available in larger print at only $.25 more than the regular print versions. They're still mass market paperbacks too.
  • Being in Southern California it's no shock I got information on Harlequin's Spanish language lines.
  • And did you know Harlequin prints catalogs? No joke. I got a very nice Winter 2007 version. Mostly trade paperback reprints, Mira hard covers and Red Dress Ink titles were featured.
I'm probably not going to rehash everything HarperCollins, Warner and Tor dished out - instead focusing on interesting titles coming out this fall and winter. Stay tuned. I still have a lot of paperwork to dig through.

No comments: