The purchase of Harlequin (from Torstar Corporation) by News Corp slipped by without too much notice in the UK yesterday (Friday). Admittedly it still has to pass through regulatory processes before it is an irrevocable deal, but that's just a matter of time.
There were a couple of items on the Bookseller website, this one and then this item. And the BBC web pages announced the news by branding Harlequin as the 'bodice ripper' publisher...
Harlequin will then operate as a division of HarperCollins.
In the UK, there are 4 imprints, Mills and Boon, Mira, Mira Ink and the the digital Carina. They are a small unit among the 1,000 Harlequin staff worldwide.
Romance is still a strong area of publishing- especially in digital- so I don't think there's any worry that Mills and Boon or Harlequin will suddenly disappear.
Though I do wonder if all the category romances managed in Toronto and New York will survive when the new managers start looking at the ongoing costs...
In the UK when any business is taken over there's usually staff loses and reorganisation; but perhaps the size and reach of the existing UK operation will protect it to some degree...
For one, across the ocean, view you might find this item on forbes.com interesting.
I can certainly see the advantage for Harper Collins, as it must be tough competing against the diversity that the Penguin Random House merger brought.
But I do think that this will start the countdown to the other major publishers doing mergers.
First there was 6, then 5...how long before it's 4?
Writers and readers are understandably going to be concerned, because until someone tells them what is going to happen, they can only speculate, and that's not good for anyone.
Also the larger the publisher gets, the harder it seems to be for writers to get their attention.
I'm becoming more convinced that the smaller publishers are where new writers should be looking, or go the self-publish route.
The next two years certainly will be interesting...
Do you have any thoughts on this merger?