Sunday, April 04, 2010

HarperStudio RIP

Scribd have posted an internal letter to all staff of their innovative HarperStudio stating its closure.

Harper Studio’s mantra was that it was ‘committed to partnering with authors to publish books in a way that is effective, creative, and sustainable. We believe books are a vital part of our culture. We believe traditional publishing models are broken and are experimenting with new ones. We believe in embracing technology. We believe the future is now.’

HarperStudio was set up as the alternative way forward; with low author advances and high profit splits, high publisher branding and an ‘open’ online presence. Just 2 years in it is has been somewhat quietly closed.

Did HarperCollins give its imprint enough time what did they define as the measurement of success? Did stat up and corporate cultures clash as they often do when the new doesn’t align to the old. We remember a similair case in our own past when the accountants simply saw ‘one goose’ and where incapable of accounting for the golden egg. Maybe experiments should be done quietly without the fanfare and proof of concept achieved before the world is told and the marketing hype started.

It begs the obvious questions about ‘effective, creative and sustainable’ and also about experimenting from within the traditional environment. However we wait to hear what lessons were learnt and what went wrong.

The read to Scribd letter, HarperStudio to Close

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