April 1-15, 2005 Edition

Harlequin Tests

New Taller Mass

Market Format

NEW YORK, NY/03/15/05—Harlequin will introduce a taller format for its mass market titles beginning in July 2005 with its imprint called Next. The new mass market books will not change in width, but height will increase from 65/8″ to 7½.” Priced at $5.50 each, the larger format books hopefully will boost sagging sales.

Harlequin’s 2004 year-end sales fell 7.9% to C$538.4 million ($435 million), and operating profit declined 21.7%, to C$97.2 million ($78 million).

Sluggish mass market sales across the U.S. were attributed to a 70% earnings decline in North America. Direct consumer sales also fell, due to a lack of new customers.

The new mass market format is similar to newer sizes being introduced by Simon &Schuster and Penguin. If the Next line is successful, other imprints will adopt the new size.

Harlequin is also reorganizing its web site to make it easier for customers to find and order books, and has launched a new online book club, Reader’s Ring.