Cover Story: Publishers' Outlook 2012: The Industry's Next Bold Move
… In the last couple of years we've started to publish nonfiction, so we think we can still appeal to women, but build a nice position in nonfiction. And also with teen.
Howard: You are doing interesting things with mobile and e-book shorts. How have those been doing for you, and what's up your sleeves?
Lewis: Well, I can't tell you about that [laughs]. A lot of it starts as experimentation. Especially with the short [or] visual-only content, it has been successful. … We've also had a great amount of success finding authors. We've published some new-to-Harlequin authors in those programs that have actually gone on to write full-length editorial in print.
On the mobile side, we're doing free apps that support both our overall Harlequin brand, but also will support specific titles with what we believe will be appreciated extra content, mainly along the nonfiction and teen routes. We took a swing at [enhanced books] a few years ago just to learn, and our learning said the market wasn't ready. I think that's been the experience of pretty much most publishers in the trade space.
Howard: What sort of mechanism do you have at Harlequin to foster experimentation?
Lewis: I think we have a nice blend in the digital group—of people with general publishing backgrounds, people with digital media backgrounds and then people that come from outside of the industry. That brings in a lot of new ideas and innovation. … We realize we're at a time and place in publishing that we have to innovate, we have to continue to prove our value to consumers, to readers, to our authors, to our trade partners. That innovation has probably never been more important in publishing than it is right now.
Howard: What effect does the economy have on romance?