At Harlequin, we believe that publishing fiction for women is a vibrant and rewarding business, and that it is our responsibility to develop and enrich our various programs in order to bring new opportunities to our authors and fresh and relevant reading experiences to our readers.
The development of new publishing programs and continued innovation within existing programs is the backbone of our approach to the business. We are driven by what our readers tell us is relevant to
them, are totally focused on the women's fiction market and we constantly look for ways in which to lead rather than follow the competition.
We are very excited that over the next few years we will be bringing several new programs to market in our series romance, inspirational fiction and single title businesses. In 2004 alone, we're offering
LUNA, a single title romantic fantasy program (which launched in January); Bombshell, a four-title-per-month romance adventure series (July); HQN Books, a new single title romance program (August); and
Steeple Hill Café, a single title inspirational hip-lit program (October). These programs are bookended by the successful launch and growth of our industry-leading Red Dress Ink imprint of contemporary
novels for the twenty-and-thirty-somethings and, in 2005, two new series. One of these series you may already know as Next (aka Primetime), a four-book-per-month series that will focus on women who
are entering a new stage of their life. We are also increasing our popular Love Inspired program to six-books-per-month with the addition of two Love Inspired Suspense novels.
There are, however, a few programs in our current offering that readers are no longer responding to in sufficiently large numbers, primarily in the retail North American market. It is therefore time to
either change or discontinue the distribution of some series with a limited albeit loyal readership. Effective July 2005, Harlequin Temptation will no longer be offered for sale in the North American retail and direct mail markets. However, Temptation remains a program that has strong appeal outside of North America, and we will be working with our authors and their agents to find a way to continue to satisfy that reader demand. At the same time, Harlequin Blaze will increase by two titles per month, and we look forward to continuing our success with this series.
Several other changes will take place in July 2005. Our romantic comedy line, Flipside, will cease publication. The Intimate Moments line will reduce its monthly offering from a six to a four-books-per-month schedule, allowing it to focus on top-selling authors and themes, and revitalize sales. And Harlequin Historicals, our historical romance series, will be re-envisioned to be published only in our North America direct mail business and in our overseas businesses. Additionally, we are transitioning our Harlequin American Romance line to better position it for future growth. As such, we will not be actively acquiring for this line over the next six to eight months.
I realize that for some there will be a period of uncertainty. Let me assure you that we will do everything possible to mitigate that uncertainty. Members of our editorial staff will be speaking personally with agents and all of the authors who are directly affected by the changes we are making, and we look forward to working with our authors and the agents who represent them to continue to publish the stories that readers want to read.
As a company, we are committed to the success of our series publishing business. The addition of new series over the next few years will reinvigorate our series business as Harlequin continues to invest in
the books and the authors we believe will resonate with women around the world. The changes we are making reflect changes in reader tastes, and we feel that the strongest publishing program we can have in the future will present more, not fewer, opportunities for all of us.
Vice President, Editorial