By Dennis Abrams
Last week multiple sources, including The Wall Street Journal report that Hyperion, the book publisher owned by Disney, is planning to sell off most of its back list, and will instead focus on books that tie directly into ABC-Disney TV Shows.
According to GigaOM, the company, under the direction of publisher Ellen Archer, has been making moves in this direction for some time. Last year, for example, it hired former Hollywood talent agent Laura Popper as editorial director of franchise publishing. Hyperion’s goal is to be able to promote its books across multiple platforms, which would seem to require that a book’s author already has his (or her) own TV show.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Hyperion will “look for books either linked to ABC television properties or that it believes can be extended to television or other corners of Walt Disney,” citing an unidentified source. A number of Hyperion’s most recent hits have been linked to ABC shows, that same source pointed out, including a series of books written under the Richard Castle name that feature homicide detective Nikki Heat, based on the crime TV show “Castle” that debuted on ABC in 2009. The books have sold an estimated 1.5 million hardcover copies plus several hundred thousand digital books since 2011.
Laura Hazard Owen at GigaOM also noted that “Hyperion has also had plenty of non-TV-related bestsellers: It publishes Mitch Albom’s books, for example (The Five People You Meet in Heaven ), Randy Pausch’s The Last Lecture and J.R. Moehringer’s The Tender Bar, among others. Those big names presumably won’t be sold off, but I’ve asked Hyperion for comment.”