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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Parent company News Corporation
Status Active
Founded 1819
Founder William Collins &
Thomas Chalmers
Country of origin  United Kingdom
Distribution Worldwide
Nonfiction topics Popular natural and social sciences
Fiction genres Many
Imprints Many
Official website

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 company publishes under many different imprints, and publishes the Collins English Dictionary.



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 publisher, 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.

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.

Collins is still used as an imprint, chiefly for wildlife and natural history books (including the on-going 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.

In 1999, News Corporation purchased the Hearst Book Group consisting of William Morrow & Company and Avon Books.[3]

In 2007, the company published a new series of books entitled Stranger Than..., which includes works of non-fiction.

HarperCollins 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.[4] 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.


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 is headed by Robert S. Miller, previously the founding publisher of Hyperion, the adult books division of the Walt Disney Company.[5][6]

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.[7][8] There are some concerns among publishers with this approach because they feel that the online books could be exploited in a "Napster-type" way.[9] In addition, excerpts of books are also available to mobile phone users.[10] HarperCollins were first to market with an innovative approach to slushpile management with the introduction of the authonomy website.

Notable authors and works


  • George Michael's autobiography was acquired in 2008, the result of "one of the biggest [publishing agreements] ever concluded in UK publishing".[12]

HarperCollins Tween/Children's Books



HarperCollins has over 30 book imprints, most of which are based in the United States.[14]

  • Harper Perennial Modern Classics
  • HarperPress
  • HarperAudio
  • HarperCollins
  • HarperCollins e-Books
  • HarperElement
  • HarperEntertainment
  • HarperLuxe
  • HarperOne
  • HarperSanFrancisco
  • HarperSport
  • HarperTeen
  • HarperTorch
  • HarperTrophy
  • HarperTrue
  • HarperVoyager
  • Julie Andrews Collection
  • Katherine Tegen Books
  • Moonstone
  • Morrow Cookbooks
  • Rayo
  • Voyager
  • Walden Pond Press
  • William Morrow
  • Zondervan

See also


  1. ^ Brian Murray takes over
  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. ^
  4. ^ Marcus, Leonard S (editor) (1998). Dear Genius: The Letters of Ursula Nordstrom HarperTrophy: New York. ISBN 0-06-446235-8
  5. ^ Rich, Motoko (2008-04-04). ""New HarperCollins Unit to Try to Cut Writer Advances"". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-04-04. 
  6. ^ Italie, Hillel (2008-04-03). ""Hyperion publisher goes to HarperCollins"". Associated Press. Retrieved 2008-04-04. 
  7. ^ HarperCollins (Finally) Offers Free Books Online.
  8. ^ Pace, Andrew K. “Technically Speaking.” American Libraries 2006 April: 80.
  9. ^ Lowry, Tom. “Getting Out Of a Bind.” Business Week2006 April 10; 79.
  10. ^ HarperCollins Offers Books on the iPhone.
  11. ^ [1].
  12. ^, George Michael tells all in memoirs.
  13. ^ "HarperCollins lands Steven Tyler's memoir". Matthew Flamm. Crain Communications Inc.. Retrieved 2008-08-07. 
  14. ^ "Company Profile, HarperCollins Publishers". Retrieved 2010-01-24. 

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