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new Harper Collins imprint

From the New York Times:

Just a month after announcing a restructuring that led to layoffs and the shuttering of an entire division, HarperCollins Publishers hopes to jazz up its book lists by opening a new imprint.

This fall the company will publish 21 new hardcover and paperback original titles under the It Books imprint, focusing on pop culture, sports, style and content derived from the Internet, like a planned collection of Twitter posts called “Twitter Wit.”

One will resist the temptation to suggest that it will be a very thin volume.

More seriously, this seems an odd response to the problems faced by the industry. Sure, publishers need to take into account the online environment. But surely that means publishing that emphasise the strengths of books, not their weaknesses. A collection of funny Twitter posts might make an amusing website, I guess, but would you really want it on your bookshelf? Print is about permanency; it’s about reflection; it’s about a more in-depth engagement with ideas than the transitory experience offered by the web. If you wanted a ‘replication of culture derived from the internet’, wouldn’t you, like, go to the internet?

Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places.

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Jeff Sparrow is the former editor of Overland. He is the co-author (with Jill Sparrow) of Radical Melbourne: A Secret History and Radical Melbourne 2: The Enemy Within, the editor (with Antony Loewenstein) of Left Turn: Essays for the New Left and the author of Communism: a love story, Killing: Misadventures in violence, and Money Shot: A Journey into Censorship and Porn.  On Twitter, he's @Jeff_Sparrow.

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