Cover Story: Publishers' Outlook 2012: The Industry's Next Bold Move
McMahon: Our students are trying to do something really, really difficult. When we talk to them about what they're looking for, price is not at the top of the list. They want help doing this difficult thing because they've set a goal for themselves. I think price is a factor in everything we do; none of us are infinitely rich. But when we ask people, "Why did you choose what you chose?" it's never because it was cheapest.
Executive Vice President, Digital
Harlequin Enterprises Ltd.
Best known for paperback romance, Harlequin was a pioneer in publishing books that appealed specifically to women. That pioneering spirit endures, as the company has been on the cutting edge of digital distribution and moves into nonfiction and young adult territories. Donna Hayes and Brent Lewis spoke to Book Business from Hayes' Toronto office.
Brian Howard: How does the knock-down/drag-out between Amazon and Barnes & Noble affect Harlequin?
Donna Hayes: I would say, the more the merrier. We are happiest when we have a broad … base of retail customers to sell our books to. So we would like to see Barnes & Noble do well through this period, absolutely. We'd like to see Kobo take some more market share, as well. We'd like to see Apple take some more market share.
Howard: What is your print and e-book sales' split?
Hayes: We can tell you what we publicly reported last quarter. Global digital revenues were 15.8 percent of total revenue in the third quarter of 2011 and 14.8 percent year-to-date. That's up from 8 and 7 [percent] in the same periods last year.
Howard: What do you see as having significant potential for growth going forward?
Hayes: Certainly digital is one of them, and it has been a great area of growth for us in North America. We imagine that that will be the case in certain overseas markets as well, so the U.K. has quite a good growth rate right now. We have e-book sales starting to occur in France, Italy, Germany, Australia, Spain and Japan. About half of our sales are in the U.S. and the other half are around the world. So we're watching the rest of the world in that respect. We have … a nice business in Brazil that we started five years ago …[and] a new business in India, which I think in the future will be worth something to us. We started a business in Turkey last year.