News broke on Twitter a week or so ago that Harlequin is going through another round of re-branding mojo. This go around? They're dumping the Silhouette name and will "rebrand" those lines as Harlequin. So instead of Silhouette Desire, you'll now have Harlequin Desire. This bit of memo leakage came from a reliable source, but I had been waiting to see it posted somewhere else online before discussing my opinion on the matter and now? Yeah, here it is. Along with the memo that went out to Harlequin authors.
What does this mean? Honestly? Not a whole helluva lot. It's simply a matter of time marching on.
For those of you who aren't up on your category romance history, let me give you a (very) quick and dirty lesson. Back in the olden days, Harlequin published one American writer (Janet Dailey). However, the American market place was a big buyer for category romance, and in response to that demand, Simon & Schuster launched Silhouette (founding editor was the late Kate Duffy) - which gave us American authors writing in American settings. Yes, this would be why Nora Roberts was originally published under the Silhouette banner. Eventually Harlequin caught a clue and bought Silhouette in 1984 - giving us the company we know today. But over the years these two names have blended. American authors are no longer "corralled" under just the Silhouette name and vice versa.
From a nostalgia standpoint - I get it. Even though I missed out on what many consider the "golden age" of category romance, I totally "get" how some readers feel about those early Silhouette offerings. It was a bit...well...revolutionary. The stories were different, the heroines were different, the sex was...well...sexy. For the first time ever you, as the reader, were no longer limited to just the "traditional" model of romance storytelling. But from the standpoint of a reader today? Right now? Yeah, I'm honestly surprised Harlequin hadn't made this move sooner.
Harlequin is a global brand. It's huge. People who don't know a damn thing about books or publishing know Harlequin (even if it is only to make fun of those trashy, cookie-cutter books ::big sigh::). Silhouette? Yeah, some name recognition, but not nearly on the global scale of Harlequin. And before you argue with me, I contend that it's really only hard core romance readers living overseas who have any inkling of the Silhouette name. But yeah, everybody knows Harlequin. So from an author/book/line marketing standpoint? This is nothing but good news in my opinion.
And really, that's what we're talking about here - a name. Harlequin has said nothing about reworking the lines, other than a name change. So if you like Silhouette Desire now? Yeah, you're still going to like them as Harlequin Desire. Karen Templeton is still going to write good, solid, enjoyable Harlequin Special Editions, as she did Silhouette Special Editions. If anything, this name switcheroo might actually help sales, especially overseas. That's my hunch anyway.
What I'm not so sure about is if this will result in any kind of internal shake-up at the HQN offices. I'm not sure why it would - but I never try to pretend to understand business decisions, especially these days. However from a reader standpoint? I'm not seeing this as giant, massive news. Well, yet anyway. We'll have to wait and see how it shakes out of course.
ETA: More press release lingo via RT. In another bit of news, the Love Inspired Historical line is going from 2 releases a month, to 4. A move that does not shock me at all.