light reading

HarperCollins Launches ‘Escapist’ Imprint, Aided by Neil Strauss

Who’s got two thumbs and … likes putting them in his pockets? This guy!

We remember fretting over Bob Miller’s innovative baby HarperStudio at every turn of corporate parent HarperCollins’ fortunes: the firing of CEO Jane Friedman, the disastrous autumn falloff in sales, the folding of the Collins imprint, and layoffs that left one employee declaring February 10 “a terrible day.”

Well, not only has the fledgling imprint thrived, but Harper announced a new venture today: It Books, a bigger and broader effort marrying paperback Harper Perennial’s “something for those wacky Gen-Xers” imperative with Miller’s celebrity and co-branding obsessions.

Perennial publisher Carrie Kania will be leading the imprint (but not leaving her old job — there are no official new hires in this scheme), excitingly churning out 21 titles as of September, including a new Neil Strauss book, the first official Twitter collection, as well as two books, by Nina Garcia and comedian Lisa Lampanelli, originally acquired by now-unemployed editors at Collins.

Kania summed up the imprint’s recessionary rationale for the Times: “It’s escapism and fun. We want to publish books that people want to buy and read. As people turn to movies and television, we want them to turn to books as well, and this seems like a perfect fit for them.” In other words, let them eat humorous essays. Helping Kania in her mission will be the ever-entertaining Strauss, working with fellow rock-star biographer Anthony Bozza to “organize” a sub-imprint called Igniter, which will launch with Larry Harmon’s posthumous autobiography, The World According to Bozo the Clown. Maybe The Game’s author can neg readers into the bookstores.

HarperCollins Puts Its Money on New ‘It Books’ Imprint [NYT]

HarperCollins Launches ‘Escapist’ Imprint, Aided by Neil Strauss