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Harper Collins Dips Its Toes into Ebook Publishing

Harper Collins

While perusing the deals today, I came across a sale by agent Bob Diforio to Harper Collins for three erotic novellas penned by Delilah Devlin. The wording of the deal was so different that I wondered if it meant what I thought it meant.

Delilah Devlin’s three erotic novellas, again to May Chen at Harper, for immediate e-book publication, in a nice deal, by Bob Diforio at D4EO Literary Agency (World).

After an confirmation email from Mr. Diforio, it comes to light that HarperCollins is indeed going to offer these books as ebooks first, with print options to come later. This makes a ton of sense because ebook publication overhead is so much lower than a print publication. I advocated for this back in November. An author can build on an online following, like Lora Leigh, that can be leveraged into large print sales.

Having Harper Collins enter the million dollar ebook publishing industry makes me wonder what will happen to epublishers such as Ellora’s Cave and Samhain. My hope is that it raises the standard of what is going to be published while not diminishing the diversity of offerings.

This can be a win win for readers, authors and publishers. Kudos to Harper Collins for taking a bigger step forward into the digital age.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Sarah McCarty
    Mar 28, 2007 @ 13:15:20

    Well, that’s a step forward. Of course, I love ebooks! And Spice is also doing the SPICE Briefs in ebook only too.

  2. Jane
    Mar 28, 2007 @ 13:22:54

    What are Spice Briefs?

  3. Robin
    Mar 28, 2007 @ 13:56:58

    I bought my first ebook from Harper Collins the other day. It was great because it forced me to download mobipocket and expand my options there. But it was also weird because HC was the first ebook vendor to charge me tax! Tax-free purchase has been one of my favorite things about ebooks.

  4. Jane
    Mar 28, 2007 @ 13:58:34

    I hate that – I think it was the result of a California state case interpreting the taxation law for internet sales. S&S recently implemented taxation too. I bought my books at today because they don’t charge tax.

  5. Robin
    Mar 28, 2007 @ 14:16:02

    But don’t companies have the choice to tax or not? Amazon charges no tax, and neither does Fictionwise nor eReader. I don’t mind so much if they discount the book enough, but it still surprised me at checkout.

  6. Jane
    Mar 28, 2007 @ 14:19:17

    My take on it is that HC and others would rather avoid paying fines later if taxation is found to be due than to miss a few sales because of taxation.

  7. Robin
    Mar 28, 2007 @ 14:31:29

    That makes sense, Jane. I wonder if they’re reflecting the tax rate (8% — higher than I pay in CA) in lower discounts, because I bought a 6.99 book for 5.59, which seemed pretty good.

  8. Sarah McCarty
    Mar 28, 2007 @ 14:36:33

    Spice Briefs are stories of all genres and situations between 5 and 15K that will be released in ebook only.

  9. Keishon
    Mar 28, 2007 @ 16:18:19

    I say it’s about time for ebook exclusives. I haven’t been feeling pretty special lately but HC has made me a happy ebook reader :-)

  10. jmc
    Mar 28, 2007 @ 17:55:35

    Er, the pedant in me refuses to be quashed. Sorry, Ja(y)nes and Robin. Please feel free to ignore what follows.

    What most people call sales tax is actually properly termed “sales & use tax”. The vendor is charged with collecting sales tax based on nexus/physical location of the purchase and goods being exchanged. To the extent that goods are purchased from a vendor without nexus (mail order, telephone, internet), the buyer is obliged to remit the “use” tax (same rate) to the state treasury. Or such is the case in most states, and the reason that mail order companies often query the purchaser’s location. As a practical matter, I know few taxpayers, if any, who send in their use tax annually. Nor am I aware of whether any state is auditing this on the individual level.

    I haven’t practiced in the state tax arena in awhile, so I’m not sure what the developments are with respect to internet purchases, but when I last attended a bar section meeting on the topic, it was the looming question on the horizon. Because no internet based company wants to admit to nexus with all 50 states, and have to collect 50 different tax rates and remit 50 returns quarterly. Can o’ worms.

  11. Charlene
    Mar 28, 2007 @ 18:39:41

    I noticed that Lawrence Block’s long out of print Write For Your Life is now available by HC as an ebook only. But I hadn’t realized they were acquiring new titles for ebook only release. Interesting!

  12. Jane
    Mar 28, 2007 @ 20:24:38

    Charlene – one thing I totally love about HC is that they are digitizing their entire backlist. Every week someone’s backlist – usually in romance – are released in ebook format.

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