Interesting News from Harper Collins

The New York Times is reporting today that Robert S. Miller, the founding publisher of Hyperion, a division of Harper Collins, will leave that job to start a new as yet unnamed imprint. This would not ordinarily concern us in the world of university press publishing save for one thing: this new imprint will attempt to end the practices of large author advances and allowing booksellers to return unsold copies to to the publisher. Now, our authors will confirm that university presses do not pay huge (if any) advances, but the issue of returns haunts the entire publishing industry. It’s extremely costly, makes it difficult to determine print runs, and makes projecting revenues challenging. Tiny university presses feel powerless to change the system so we’ll be watching developments at Miller’s new venture with interest.

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