Bob Miller has unveiled the 23 titles that will make up his first list at HarperStudio, the imprint he started last spring at HarperCollins with the goal of finding a model for book publishing that doesn’t rely on paying authors outsize advances or allowing retailers to return unsold stock. Mr. Miller’s announcement, which he made this morning on HarperStudio’s new blog, brings to an end several months of industry-wide speculation about just what kinds of projects he’d be able to sign up.
The most eye-catching title on the list is probably the collection of short, unpublished humor pieces by Mark Twain, which will be out in April. Other notable books in the mix: a memoir by 3rd Rock From the Sun star John Lithgow, a history of humor by New Yorker cartoon editor Bob Mankoff, and a Toni Morrison-edited collection called Burn This Book, about "the power of the word," that will feature pieces by her, Salman Rushdie, Orhan Pamuk, David Grossman, and others.
Also interesting: an as-yet-untitled discussion of "great business partnerships" written by former Disney C.E.O. Michael Eisner, who was Mr. Miller’s boss for almost 15 years years while Mr. Miller was president of Disney’s book publishing arm, Hyperion.
Other books worth mentioning: a Rolling Stone book about ’90s music, a guide to 100 underappreciated films by Leonard Maltin, and a collaboration between the rapper 50 Cent and Robert Greene, author of The 48 Laws of Power, which will teach readers "how to live successfully by living fearlessly." The book will hilariously be called The 50th Law, which provokes questions about the mysterious 49th law and why Mr. Greene is avoiding it.
In his blog post this morning, Mr. Miller provided some context for the assortment of titles:
Since the announcement of HarperStudio back in April—and our pledge to acquire books on a low-advance/profit-sharing model—we’ve seen two things happen," Mr. Miller wrote in his blog post about the list. "The first (which may have been easy to predict) is that we aren’t participating in auctions anymore. This means that we aren’t acquiring the same books that other publishers are trying to acquire. In the beginning, we missed the adrenaline rush and the thrill of outspending our competitors. But as anyone who has ever gone to an estate auction off some roadside in Vermont knows, this also means that we aren’t buying things in the heat of the moment, furniture that we start regretting before we’ve barely lifted the broken pieces into the back of the car.
Follow Leon Neyfakh via RSS.