Kindle, A New Way To Read

Friday, April 4, 2008

Miller Leaving Hyperion for HC; Archer to Lead Hyperion

By Rachel Deahl & Jim Milliot -- Publishers Weekly, 4/3/2008 10:06:00 AM

Bob Miller, longtime president of Hyperion, is leaving the company for a new post at HarperCollins. At HC, Miller will be heading up a "publishing studio" that will do 25 titles a year. Target date for the first books is spring 2009. Miller will report directly to Jane Friedman and start at Harper on April 14, appearing in his new role just in time for the start of the London Book Fair.

At Hyperion, Ellen Archer has been tapped to succeed Miller. Archer joined Hyperion in 1999 and in 2005 was named to her most recent post as senior v-p and publisher. Speaking to when and if Archer would find a replacement to fill her old position, a spokesperson at Hyperion said the newly minted company president is "in the process of deciphering her next steps," and that it's too early to comment on any potential new hires.

Miller, who founded Hyperion in 1991 at Disney, said he had become too comfortable in his current role and was looking for something that would challenge him the way starting Hyperion did 17 years ago. The new division will produce titles in various formats, including digital ones, which will most likely be priced under $20. Miller said an early focus will be short hardcovers with which he has had great success at Hyperion (Mitch Albom, Steve Martin), while also experimenting with tying different digital elements to print editions.The studio will also look to move away from traditional advance/royalty deals with authors in favor of profit sharing agreements. Miller said that while established authors were unlikely to be tempted by such a deal for their traditional titles, an author looking to experiment in a different format may have an interest. Newer authors who are looking to break out of the pack are likely to be a prime target for his new approach, Miller added. He is also eager to try new things in distribution "to cut down on all the waste of returns." Selling nonreturnable and selling directly to consumer are two avenues Miller will explore.

He said that while Disney may have supported some new initiatives, Miller believed he needed to "start from scratch" to build a different publishing program, and after a series of informal talks with Friedman agreed to move to HC. For her part, Friedman said "when I think of innovation I think of Bob. I can't think of anyone better to build a new publishing model for today."