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September 18 – September 25, 2008 Edition Harper Studio
25 Acquisitions NEW YORK, NY/9/18/2008–Harper Studio, the new "shared" publishing model at HarperCollins, has launched a blog called 26thStory.com, and this week unveiled its first 25 acquisitions. Studio will be launched in April 2009, with the lead title a collection of previously unpublished Mark Twain stories. The new imprint, which acquires books on a low-advance/profit-sharing model with the author, launched in April this year with Bob Miller as publisher.
Wring on the new blog, Miller said: "Since the announcement of HarperStudio back in Apriland our pledge to acquire books on a low-advance/profit-sharing model-we’ve seen two things happen. The first (which may have been easy to predict) is that we aren’t participating in auctions anymore. This means that we aren’t acquiring the same books that other publishers are trying to acquire. In the beginning, we missed the adrenaline rush and the thrill of outspending our competitors. But as anyone who has ever gone to an estate auction off some roadside in Vermont knows, this also means that we aren’t buying things in the heat of the moment, furniture that we start regretting before we’ve barely lifted the broken pieces into the back of the car.
"The second thing we’ve discovered is that in the absence of that competition, the books we are acquiring-and we’ve made more than twenty deals so far-are either books that we went looking for, or books that came looking for us. For instance, after we saw John Lithgow’s amazing one-man show, “Stories By Heart,” we met with him to discuss the idea of a memoir he might write that explored the power of storytelling the way his show did. He liked the idea, becoming one of the first authors we signed. After we saw New Yorker cartoon editor Bob Mankoff’s hilarious presentation at the New Yorker Future Conference, we suggested that he do for humor what Stephen Hawking had done for quantum physics. He said yes, and so we will publish his book, An Extremely Short History of Humor, sometime next Fall."
Miller added that while they miss hearing the auctioneer yell "Sold!" in an auction, "the stuff we’re bringing home is stuff we really end up liking, even the day after."