It is unfortunate to see HarperStudio closing after the departure of Bob Miller to Workman Publishing. Publishers Weekly notes:

(Michael) Morrison* said that in the “entrepreneurial spirit” of HarperStudio “all of our imprints are happy to discuss profit share scenarios on a book by book basis.

The HarperStudio business model and those like it are in their infancy, and while I understand the economic rationale behind the closure, I believe HarperCollins has shuttered the experiment too soon.

Indeed, when one looks at traditional business models they make very little sense in the medium-term: the investment risk exposure is too high; channels to market are extremely inefficient; the cost of generating and keeping customers endangers profitability.

HarperStudio may have been built on “entrepreneurial spirit” but there is no doubt in my mind that the model offers a viable future for book publishing. The closure is a corporate mistake and HarperCollins will eventually spend a lot more acquiring a publisher with a similar business model in the future.

  • Morrison is the president and publisher of HarperCollins’ General Books Group.