HarperCollins Publishers decided that the book biz is too hard these days so it's going to try and get everyone else to do its job for it. Its books don't sell? That's the bookstores' problem; HarperCollins' new division will take no returns, or at least that's the goal. Writers need to eat while writing? That's what crippling credit card debt is for, losers; the new unit will pay "low or no advances," according to the Times, preferring to only fork out cash when it has made whatever it defines as a profit on a book. Here, the executive in charge of the new division explains how all this benefits you, the struggling writer. Just kidding, here's how he says it makes sense for his company:

"The idea is, 'Let's take all the things that we think are wrong with this business and try to change them,'" said [Robert S. Miller, the founding publisher of Hyperion], 51. "It really seemed to require a start-up from scratch because it will be very experimental."

This is actually great, because once writers stop getting advances maybe more of them will stop fetishizing words-on-paper-in-a-bookstore and realize there is actually a way to publish your stuff for free to the entire world without giving up most of the revenue. You still need a good editor, but there's no reason he needs to come with a dead-trees publishing company attached.


(HarperCollins photo via Times)