HarperCollins intends on launching a new digital imprint entitled “Witness” this October. The publishing giant already has close to 100 titles ready to be published, but will start with 10 in the first month. One of the most exciting elements is the royalty payment structure; the company has announced it will pay its writers monthly, to better compete with Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing.
Witness will feature the same royalty structure as William Morrow/Avon’s other digital-first imprints. Authors receive a 50% royalty once their book sells 10,000 copies (initial royalties start at 25%). Digital first imprints often do not give advances on the titles, such as Karina Press by Harlequin.
Digital first publishing houses often take gambles on unknown writers in the hopes they will sell enough copies to warrant a print edition. Since HarperCollins has an established distribution pipeline with thousands of bookstores, and the company hopes to sway over aspiring writers to their imprint, away from Amazon.
Witness will feature digital versions of Agatha Christie’s short stories. In the fall, Witness will release all the “Hercule Poirot” short stories as digital singles, and then together in a single omnibus edition with a foreword by Charles Todd.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.