Avon/HarperCollins announced today a digital first imprint, Avon Impulse, which will launch with a digital short from author .
From the extremely brief ABC news article:
Avon Books announced Monday that it has set up a digital romance imprint, Avon Impulse, where books by new and established authors will be released electronically, with paper editions available on demand. The imprint begins next week with an e-novella by Katherine Ashe, “A Lady’s Wish,” and “multiple titles” are planned each month. Avon Books is an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.
The digital market has been especially strong for romance fiction, in part because fans can read e-editions in public without fear of embarrassment. Avon also cited decreased shelf space in physical stores as a reason for starting Avon Impulse.
Following “A Lady’s Wish” will be “Royal Wedding, “a historical romance short fiction anthology by Stephanie Laurens, Gaelen Foley and Loretta Chase, which will be timed to release alongside that other royal wedding.
The press release also says,
Later in the season bring four releases from Lavinia Kent and a prelude to Karina Cooper’s Avon debut, Blood of the Wicked. Jaime Rush launches a brand new series with a digital short; and a full-length paranormal romance novel by author Kristin Miller will be released in the summer….
The new imprint is looking to publish multiple titles each month, eventually releasing new content on a weekly basis. The Avon Impulse brand has grown organically from Avon’s existing publishing program and offers authors all the strengths of Avon’s widely respected team. Books will be acquired by Avon editors, and will benefit by targeted marketing and publicity plans, as well as powerful sales platforms.
The imprint’s site will be at AvonRomance.com/Impulse though a quick search of registry data revealed that on 7 Feb 2011, Harper Collins also registered AvonImpulse.com. That URL resolves to AvonRomance, though I presume a site is forthcoming. ETA: The submission form is online at http://www.avonromance.com/impulse/.
ETA: from the FAQ at the bottom of the submission form:
Where will Avon Impulse titles be sold?
Our Avon Impulse e-books will be available at every e-tailer, and readers will be able to download them onto every portable reading device sold today…and tomorrow, too. Readers who seek a hard copy of individual Avon Impulse titles will be able to lay their hands on physical books, thanks to a print-to-order option available through major online book retailers.
Do Avon Impulse authors get an advance? What is the royalty rate?
Avon Impulse will not pay an advance, but authors receive 25% royalties from the first book sold. After an e-book sells 10,000 copies, the author’s royalty rate rises to 50%. (Contracts will provide royalties for both e-book and print-to-order copies.)
ETA: Pam Jaffee confirms royalty is based on net.
Will Avon Impulse e-books be distributed globally?
Every Avon Impulse contract will include World English language distribution, so we can deliver these e-books everywhere around the world where English-language novels are sold.
Will Avon Impulse titles be DRM protected?
Yes. Our retail partners will place DRM protection on Avon Impulse titles, following the standard procedure for all Avon books.
Word allegedly leaked earlier today from agent Jenny Bent, who tweeted about it, but seems to have deleted the tweet itself. Those who copied and pasted with lightning-quick fingers report Bent as saying, “Avon launches Avon Impulse, original e-book publishing. Agented or unagented, Contemporary, Fantasy, Futuristic, Ghost, Gothic, Historical, Magical, Time Travel, Western, Shifter, Small Town, Steampunk, Suspense, Vampire (and others)”.
No word on whether the digital books produced by this new imprint will be available for more than 26 checkouts at your local public library,
or whether they will have DRM
(Aw, darn, they will), but it is telling that another major publisher has recognized the validity and possibility of the digital business model. I wish HarperCollins’ other digital policies were as forward thinking, but I also think that this is a step in a possibly positive direction for digital book readers.
In other news, Publisher’s Weekly is reporting that HarperCollins is also launching a Groupon-like service to offer exclusive deals on books at a new site called BookPerk.com. Offerings already include special editions of To Kill a Mockingbird and a signed first edition of Joyce Carol Oates’ memoir A Widow’s Story. You can also enter to win various prizes, including items from one Justin Bieber. (Cue squeeing somewhere). The site says, in a box in the lower right corner, “Bookperk is a HarperCollins site,” which leads me to think the merchandise will be HC-exclusive. But I’m still digging to find out if that’s definitely true.