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From the Editors: John Williams of Harper Perennial

williams.jpgRachel Kramer Bussel asks the questions:

Can you give me an overview of the kinds of books Harper Perennial publishers, and then within those areas, what you specialize in?

We reprint books that are published in hardcover by Harper, William Morrow, and Ecco; we publish original paperbacks, including some by young novelists (more on them later), anthologies (like The Revolution Will Be Accessorized, which collects the best of BlackBook magazine), and essay collections (like The Thinking Fan’s Guide to the World Cup); and we always keep an eye on what other houses are publishing, with the thought of possibly acquiring the paperback rights. I’m fortunate to be able to work across those boundaries on a variety of projects, rather than having to narrowly specialize in one thing.
According to a 2005 Publishers Weekly article, Harper Perennial was streamlined last year to focus on a media-savvy audience who “read The New Yorker, surf, listen to NPR and watch cable channels like BBC America.” How has the branding of the imprint played out? Is there anything else you can say about who your target reader is?
I think Nick Hornby was right in High Fidelity when he suggested that our tastes define us as well or better than anything else might, and so that list is a pretty good description—we want to target readers who are broadly intelligent, curious, and plugged in to both high and low(ish) culture. Our readers absolutely might read The New Yorker, but I imagine a lot of them also watch Entourage and/or Pimp My Ride. As for the more material aspects of the branding, many people locked themselves in rooms for many hours to draw up a plan, and they came out with a great new logo and a beautiful, more uniform design for the books, which really stand out.
More here.

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