Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Who Gets to Wear the Big H?

I have been thinking about this Harlequin branding of the AuthorSolutions powered vanity press Harlequin Horizons, and ring-fencing of gay romance inclusive Harlequin ebook imprint Carina Press, which does not carry the Harlequin name. To me this seems to say:

* If you have really editors, take no fees and are selective ("editorial and marketing expertise"), this is not 'H'.

* So long as the book is printed on paper, even though it is not even seen by a Harlequin staff member at any time ("all sales, marketing, publishing, distribution, and book-selling services will be fulfilled by ASI [Authorsolutions]"), this is 'H'.

It makes me thing of people who say: "How dare you charge $7 for an ebook? There is no paper and distribution!"

If the value of a publisher could be measured in pulpwood and stamps, readers would just buy reams of blank paper and be well satisfied.

The value of a publish is, or should primarily be, its quality control, its editorial tone and standards--it's guarantee that what it gives you to read is worth reading.

Harlequin, it seems, does not agree.

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