Congratulations, fans of the Young Adult fiction, you’re getting your own digital publishing imprint. It’s called HarperTeen Impulse, and it’s 100% digital.
Even more surprising is the fact that the titles published under HarperTeen Impulse will be priced between $0.99 and $2.99 — the well-known “sweet spot” for moving copies on Amazon.
For years, traditional publishers have resisted the lower price points, insisting that they will undermine the perceived value. Now, that’s slowly beginning to change.
In this case, HarperCollins is really breaking from tradition with HTI, because the new imprint will focus on short stories and novellas. It’s actually a huge step for Harper, not in terms of going digital, but in terms of accepting a new business model.
In the Number One Book System, Ryan stresses the fact that Kindle books don’t necessarily need to be traditional book length; 30-60 pages is more than enough for many Kindle topics. In fact, Amazon has an entire subcategory for serial short stories, dubbed “Kindle Singles,” the literary equivalent of an individually wrapped slice of American cheese.
Still, it’s clear that this is only a test for HarperCollins. I repeat, this is only a test.
I’m reading between the lines here, but I think Harper is saying, “If you’re into novellas with plots that shamelessly curl back to vampires and teenage love at every opportuity, digital is fine for you and your class of reader…”
The YA genre is not exactly the creme de la creme… It’s more of a profit center.
That’s probably why Harper is comfortable using Young Adult as a lab rat, so to speak. It’s highly commercialized, and thus there’s not much at risk… BUT it’s not like YA readers are the only ones flocking to digital books.
It’s actually pretty funny. Each week, it become more and more clear that the “Big 5″ publishers are conforming to the demands of the Amazon-driven marketplace. Penguin Random House and HarperTeen Impulse are just the two of the most recent examples…
At the same time, they continue to make it abundantly clear (consciously or unconsciously) that they’re not thrilled about it either.