Former HarperCollins President and CEO Jane Friedman has launched Open Road Integrated Media (ORIM) in partnership with film producer Jeffrey Sharp. Financed by Kohlberg Ventures, Open Road is a content marketing company that "places the e-book in the center of a multiplatform universe which includes film, video and other forms of digital entertainment." Friedman will serve as CEO, and Sharp as president.
The company will create enhanced e-books of titles from established authors as well as introduce new authors. According to a company press release, an ORIM e-book will feature both aggregated and originally produced video and audio content such as author profiles, behind-the-scenes features and mini-docs. E-books will be marketed through a proprietary platform.
The company's launch titles are from the catalogs of authors William Styron, Pat Conroy, Joseph Heller and Dame Iris Murdoch. Open Road also is in discussions with literary agents to acquire the backlists of their clients, including longtime Friedman author and friend, the late Michael Crichton.
New titles will be published digitally through ORIM’s Studio division, as well as through a self-publishing division called Discovery. Both Studio and Discovery will have print-on-demand capability and will be run by Publisher Brendan Cahill, formerly a founding editor of Gotham Books. In addition, ORIM will create co-marketing partnerships with legacy publishing houses for their digital titles.
Open Road’s Digital Entertainment division (ORIM DigiEnt) will provide the video content for the company’s marketing program and also will develop available media rights from Open Road content including feature-length movies, documentaries, TV programs and other forms of digital entertainment. Executive Vice President Luke Parker Bowles will oversee ORIM DigiEnt.
"For someone who has always felt that the one constant in publishing is change, there is no more exciting time than the present," says Friedman. "At Open Road, we are embracing that change by going back to the future and offering a new way to present titles by some of the world's best-selling authors as well as introduce a new generation of writers. We believe that a story should live everywhere, on all screens, and to that end I look forward to working with authors and agents to create enhanced e-books that place their stories at the front and center of a multimedia universe."
Friedman will be interviewed about her new venture and the future of publishing by Book Business Editor-in-Chief Noelle Skodzinski at the Publishing Business Virtual Conference & Expo, called Digital Content Day @ Your Desk, Oct. 29, at 10:30 a.m. (EST).