HarperCollins Named Publishing Innovator of the Year
The company now can securely provide content in digital formats and offer content previews, such as through its Browse Inside and Sneak Peek programs. HarperCollins launched its initial Browse Inside feature in August 2006, enabling consumers to view online select pages from thousands of HarperCollins titles. In November 2007, it embedded all its book content into its site with the latest Browse Inside version. The company’s Sneak Peek is a new program “where we alert people who have newsletter subscriptions with us … to come to the site to get 20-percent access to selected titles up to two weeks ahead of the on-sale date,” explains Carolyn Pittis, HarperCollins senior vice president, marketing strategy and operations.
In February, the company took the book-preview concept a step further by launching its Full Access program, which makes the entire content for a select number of titles available to consumers online for a limited time. Through the program, the company is working with authors to determine the impact free access will have on book sales.
Full Access is an example of Harper- Collins’ willingness to experiment with new models to provide content to consumers when and how they want it. In early 2006, the company was the first major trade book publisher to provide an entire book (“Go It Alone!: The Secret to Building a Successful Business on Your Own”) online for free, selling advertising alongside each page of online content.
HarperCollins Australia was among the first book publishers in the world to test launch a mobile-publishing platform. HarperCollins was also the first major publisher to sell e-books to libraries in January 2003, and launched the first global e-book publishing program in early 2001. The company also was among the first to use webcasts and audio and video content to market its authors.
“I think innovation is absolutely key,” says Friedman. “… Traditionally, we still are a publishing company, and we bring books to the public. But what’s happened is that we must innovate, because different channels of distribution have come up. Obviously, we’re very into the digital space, and have embraced it and have never been frightened of it; but innovation has always been kind of a byword for me,” she continues. “Years ago, I started the audiobook business, I started a Spanish-language publishing imprint, I started to work with the Internet early. I just happen to like doing something that’s a little bit different and out of the ordinary. And I have found at HarperCollins a group of people who feel exactly the same way. So whereas we have respect for tradition, we feel that innovation and futurism … [are] absolutely necessary.”