Robert Miller, the founding president of Disney’s publishing operation Hyperion, has stepped down to take a job at HarperCollins. Hyperion’s publisher Ellen Archer, who has been with the company for nine years, has been promoted to president effective immediately. Ms. Archer will report to Anne Sweeney, co-chair of Disney Media Networks and president of the Disney-ABC Television Group.
Hyperion loses its president just three months after losing its editor-in-chief Will Schwalbe, when he resigned to pursue a secret project in new media back in January.
Mr. Miller, who was brought in to start Hyperion for Disney in 1991, is doing something kind of similar, except he’s doing it at HarperCollins. According to a press release sent out by that publishing house this morning, he has been hired to found an experimental publishing "studio" there.
This studio will "[challenge] conventional trade publishing standards" by putting out 25 books per year "in multiple physical and digital formats including those as yet unspecified." It will also try to take advantage of marketing and advertising opportunities offered by the Internet.
Unclear what that means or how that’s different from what every other publishing house has been trying to do lately, but one way the as yet unnamed venture does unambiguously "follow a ‘non-traditional business model,’" as promised in the release, is that authors will be paid through a "profit sharing model" instead of getting royalties.
Mr. Miller, who will report to HarperCollins CEO Jane Friedman, will ceremoniously assume his new role on April 14, "at the London Book Fair." One wonders what that means too—will there be a public coronation?