Parent company News Corporation
Status Active
Founded 1989
Country of origin United Kingdom
Headquarters location New York City
Distribution Worldwide
Imprints Numerous
Official website HarperCollins.com

HarperCollins is a publishing company owned by News Corporation. It is the combination of the publishers William Collins, Sons and Co Ltd, a British company, and Harper & Row, an American company, itself the result of an earlier merger of Harper & Brothers and Row, Peterson & Company. The worldwide CEO of HarperCollins is Brian Murray.[1] The senior vice president is Lisa Sharkey. The company publishes many different imprints, both former independent publishing houses and new imprints.




Collins was a Scottish printing company founded by a Presbyterian schoolmaster, William Collins, in Glasgow in 1819, in partnership with Charles Chalmers, the younger brother of Thomas Chalmers, minister of Tron Church, Glasgow. The company had to overcome many early obstacles, and Charles Chalmers left the business in 1825. The company eventually found success in 1841 as a printer of Bibles, and, in 1848, Collins's son Sir William Collins developed the firm as a publishing venture, specializing in religious and educational books. The company was renamed William Collins, Sons and Co Ltd. in 1868.[2]

Although the early emphasis of the company had been on religion and education, Collins also published more widely. In 1917, with Sir Godfrey Collins in charge, the firm started publishing fiction. Collins Crime Club (1930–1994) published all but the first six of Agatha Christie's novels, as well as the British editions of Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe books and many others from the Golden Age of Detective Fiction. Upon purchasing the rights to the works of C.S. Lewis, Fount was established as Collins's religion imprint.

Collins ultimately became a diverse and prolific company, publishing a wide range of titles, including many aimed at a juvenile audience. By the late 1970s, Wm Collins & Sons was also responsible for publishing the long-running American Children's Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew series in the United Kingdom. These were firstly published in a series of digest size hardbacks akin to their American style. Paperbacks (of a 'normal' rather than 'digest' size) soon followed from Collins' Armada Books imprint, although the series as published in England follow a different numbering system to the accepted American one. Collins's Armada Books imprint also published similar series, such as the Three Investigators, alongside such British stalwarts as Biggles, Billy Bunter, and Paddington Bear, and such well-loved authors as Enid Blyton, Malcolm Saville, Diana Pullein-Thompson.


Marshall Pickering was bought by Harper and Row in 1988. Marshall Pickering itself was formed in 1981 from two long established Christian publishers. Marshall Morgan and Scott, a London based predominantly Baptist publishing house, which had acquired a number of publishing companies over the years, such as Bagsters (Bible publishers since 1794) and Oliphants. Pickering and Inglis was a long established Glasgow based publisher, publishing largely for the non conformist church in Scotland with many Brethren publications.

Mergers and acquisitions

In 1989, Collins was bought by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, and the publisher was combined with Harper & Row, which NewsCorp had acquired two years earlier.

In 1999, News Corporation purchased the Hearst Book Group, consisting of William Morrow & Company and Avon Books. These imprints are now published under the rubric of HarperCollins[3]

In 2011, HarperCollins acquired the publisher Thomas Nelson (pending).[4]

Management history

Jane Friedman was CEO for HarperCollins from 1997 to 2008.

Notable books

HarperCollins maintains the backlist of many of the books originally published by their many merged imprints, in addition to having picked up new authors since the merger. This is a list of some of the more noted books, and series, published by HarperColllins and their various imprints and merged publishing houses.

Web approach

In order to both boost book sales and reach the online market, HarperCollins offers a browsing feature on its website, whereby customers can read selected extracts from books before purchasing.[6][7] There are some concerns among publishers with this approach because they feel that the online books could be exploited by file-sharing.[8] In addition, excerpts of books are also available to mobile phone users.[9] HarperCollins were first to market with an innovative approach to slushpile management with the introduction of the authonomy website. From 2009 to 2010, they operated Bookarmy, a social networking site.

Speakers Bureau

The HarperCollins Speakers Bureau (also known as HCSB) is the first lecture agency to be created by a major publishing house.[10] It was launched in May 2005[10] as a division of HarperCollins to book paid speaking engagements for the authors HarperCollins, and its sister companies, publish. Jamie Brickhouse is the director.[11]

Some of the notable authors the HCSB represents include Carol Alt, Dennis Lehane, Gregory Maguire,[12] Danny Meyer, Mehmet Oz, Sidney Poitier, Ted Sorensen, and Kate White.


If I Did It

If I Did It was a book written by O.J. Simpson about his alleged murder of Nicole Simpson, which was planned as a HarperCollins title, and which attracted considerable controversy and a legal battle over publication.

Ben Collins

In August 2010, the company became embroiled in a legal battle with the BBC after a book it was due to publish, later identified as the forthcoming autobiography of racing driver Ben Collins, revealed the identity of The Stig from Top Gear.[13] In his blog, Top Gear executive producer Andy Wilman accused HarperCollins of "hoping to cash in" on the BBC's intellectual property, describing the publishers as "a bunch of chancers."[14] On September 1 the BBC's request for an injunction preventing the book from being published was turned down, effectively confirming the book's revelation that "The Stig" was indeed Collins.[15]


In March 2011, HarperCollins announced it would distribute eBooks to libraries with DRM enabled to delete the item after being lent 26 times.[16][17] HarperCollins has drawn criticism of this plan, in particular its likening eBooks, which are purely digital, to traditional paperback trade books, which wear over time.[18][19]

Harper Children's Books

Children's book editor Ursula Nordstrom was the director of Harper's Department of Books for Boys and Girls from 1940 to 1973, overseeing the publication of classics such as Goodnight Moon, Where the Wild Things Are, The Giving Tree, Charlotte's Web, Beverly Cleary's series starring Ramona Quimby, and Harold and the Purple Crayon.[20] In 1998, Nordstrom's personal correspondence was published as Dear Genius: The Letters of Ursula Nordstrom (illustrated by Maurice Sendak), edited by Charlotte Zolotow. Zolotow began her career as a stenographer to Nordstrom, became her protege, and went on to write more than 80 books and edit hundreds of others, including Nordstrom's The Secret Language and the works of Paul Fleischman. Zolotow later became head of the Children's Books Department, and went on to become the company's first female Vice-President.

The Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis, while not originally published by a merged imprint of HarperCollins, were acquired by the publisher.

HarperCollins has published the following notable children's books:


HarperCollins has over 30 book imprints, most of which are based in the United States.[21] Collins still exists as an imprint, chiefly for wildlife and natural history books, including the New Naturalist series, and field guides, as well as English and bilingual dictionaries based on the Bank of English, a large corpus of contemporary English texts.

HarperCollins imprints, both current, and defunct as part of their merger history, include:

  • Unwin Hyman (defunct, once known as Allen & Unwin, which is now an independent publisher)
  • Amistad, primarily books of African American interest, named for the storied ship La Amistad
  • Angus & Robertson
  • The Julie Andrews Collection
  • Avon
    • Avon A
    • Avon Red
    • Avon Romance
  • Balzer + Bray
  • Blue Door
  • Broadside Books
  • Caedmon, audiobooks
  • Cliff Street Books
  • Collins Press
  • Ecco
  • EOS Books, science fiction/fantasy
  • Flamingo
  • Fontana
  • Fourth Estate
  • Grafton Books
  • Greenwillow Books, children's literature
  • Harper
  • Harper & Brothers (defunct)
  • Harper & Row (defunct)
  • Harper Audio
  • Harper Business
  • Harper Design
  • Harper Element
  • Harper Festival
  • Harper Paperbacks
  • Harper Perennial, originally Perennial Library
  • Harper Perennial Modern Classics
  • Harper Perennial Modern Thought
  • Harper Prism, science fiction imprint (merged with Eos)
    • Harper San Francisco, with a focus on religious and spiritual books
  • Harper Sport
  • Harper Thorsons
  • Harper Torch
  • Harper Trophy, children's book imprint
  • Harper True
  • HarperCollins Children's Audio
  • HarperCollins Children's Books
  • HarperCollins e-Books
  • HarperCollins Speakers Bureau
  • HarperLuxe
  • HarperOne[22]
  • HarperTeen[23]
  • HarperVoyager
  • It Books
  • Marshall Pickering
  • Moonstone
  • William Morrow
    • Morrow Cookbooks, a highly respected series of cookbooks
  • Katherine Tegen Books
  • Rayo
  • ReganBooks
  • Thomas Nelson (acquisition pending)
  • Voyager
  • Walden Pond Press
  • Zondervan, evangelical Christian publications


HarperCollins announced HarperStudio in 2008 as a "new, experimental unit... that will eliminate the traditional profit distributions to authors. The long-established author advances and bookseller returns has not proved to be very profitable to either the author or the publisher. The approach HarperStudio is now taking is to offer little or no advance, but instead to split the profit 50% (rather than the industry standard 15%), with the author." The division was headed by Bob Miller, previously the founding publisher of Hyperion, the adult books division of the Walt Disney Company.[24][25] HarperStudio folded in March 2010 after Miller left for Workman Publishing.[26]

See also


  1. ^ Neyfakh, Leon (June 4, 2008). "It's Official: Jane Friedman Out at HarperCollins, Her Deputy Up 'Effective Immediately'". The New York Observer. http://www.observer.com/2008/its-official-jane-friedman-out-harpercollins-her-deputy-effective-immediately. Retrieved 26 November 2010. 
  2. ^ Keir, David (1952). The House of Collins: The Story of a Scottish Family of Publishers from 1789 to the Present Day. Collins: London. ISBN B00005XH0X.
  3. ^ "News Corporation Announces Plans To Acquire William Morrow & Company And Avon Books From The Hearst Corporation". New York, NY.: News Corporation. June 17, 1999. Archived from the original on Dec 09, 2006. http://web.archive.org/web/20061209220010/http://www.newscorp.com/news/news_077.html. Retrieved 26 November 2010. 
  4. ^ "HarperCollins to Acquire Thomas Nelson". Publishers Weekly. October 31, 2011. http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/industry-deals/article/49334-harpercollins-to-acquire-thomas-nelson.html. 
  5. ^ http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/mumpreneur-leads-collins-english-dictionary-entries-2365895.html
  6. ^ HarperCollins (Finally) Offers Free Books Online.
  7. ^ Pace, Andrew K. “Technically Speaking.” American Libraries 2006 April: 80.
  8. ^ Lowry, Tom. “Getting Out Of a Bind.” Business Week2006 April 10; 79.
  9. ^ HarperCollins Offers Books on the iPhone.
  10. ^ a b McGee, Celia. "A Way to Give Authors a Lucrative Second Platform." The New York Times, 4 June 2007. Retrieved 23 February 2009.
  11. ^ Donadio, Rachel. "More Bang for the Book." The New York Times, 27 July 2008. Retrieved 23 February 2009.
  12. ^ Nawotka, Edward. "As Speakers' Bureaus Grow, Booksellers Cast Wary Eye." Publishers' Weekly, 12 November 2007. Retrieved 23 February 2009.
  13. ^ "Top Gear boss lambasts Stig book plans". BBC Online. 27 August 2010. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-11108795. Retrieved 26 November 2010. 
  14. ^ "The Stig. He’s ours". Transmission. 2010-08-27. http://transmission.blogs.topgear.com/2010/08/27/the-stig-he-is-ours/. Retrieved 26 November 2010. 
  15. ^ "Stig court case: BBC loses battle over Ben Collins book". BBC Online. 1 September 2010. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-11151777. Retrieved 26 November 2010. 
  16. ^ Bosman, Julie (2011-02-27). "A Limit on Lending E-Books". The New York Times. http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/27/a-limit-on-lending-e-books/?scp=1&sq=HarperCollins&st=cse. 
  17. ^ Kingsley, Patrick (2011-03-06). "Ebooks On Borrowed Time". The Guardian (London). http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/mar/06/ebooks-on-borrowed-time. 
  18. ^ Doctorow, Cory (2011-03-08). "Ebooks: durability is a feature, not a bug". The Guardian (London). http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2011/mar/08/ebooks-harpercollins-26-times. 
  19. ^ Page, Benedicte (2011-03-01). "Fury over 'stupid' restrictions to library ebook loans". The Guardian (London). http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/mar/01/restrictions-library-ebook-loans. 
  20. ^ Marcus, Leonard S (editor) (1998). Dear Genius: The Letters of Ursula Nordstrom HarperTrophy: New York. ISBN 0-06-446235-8
  21. ^ "Company Profile, HarperCollins Publishers". http://www.harpercollins.com/footer/companyProfile.aspx?HCHP=TI_ALL. Retrieved 2010-01-24. 
  22. ^ Harperone.com
  23. ^ Harperteen.com
  24. ^ Rich, Motoko (2008-04-04). "New HarperCollins Unit to Try to Cut Writer Advances". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/04/business/04harper.html?_r=1&oref=slogin. Retrieved 2008-04-04. 
  25. ^ Italie, Hillel (2008-04-03). "Hyperion publisher goes to HarperCollins". Associated Press. Archived from the original on 2008-04-08. http://web.archive.org/web/20080408064317/http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080403/ap_en_bu/books_publisher_switch. Retrieved 2008-04-04. 
  26. ^ Kellogg, Carolyn (2010-04-02). "That was fast: say goodbye to Harper Studio". Los Angeles Times. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/jacketcopy/2010/04/that-was-fast-say-goodbye-to-harper-studio.html. 

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