Harlequin Enterprises: the Mira Decisions Essay

1191 Words Oct 10th, 2009 5 Pages
The primary issue facing Harlequin is the "steady loss of share in a growing women's fiction market", due to the growing popularity of single-title novels. With the volume sales dependence that is inherent in series publishing, the unit sales stalling that occurred in the late 80’s and early 90’s acted as a warning signal to Harlequin. A change in pricing strategies enabled revenues to continue to rise, but this was a short-term solution and Mira has the potential to become a long-term solution. However, there are a number of issues surrounding the launch of Mira.

As the world’s largest publisher of romance fiction, Harlequin has a strong global foothold in series publishing with a presence in more than 100 international markets and 23
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Mira would also provide Harlequin the opportunity to create economies of scale through the centralization of rights acquisition activities already being undertaken in some international subsidiaries.

Conversely, Mira represents an extremely high risk undertaking for Harlequin with significantly higher costs for production, distribution and marketing. A single-title novel is a unique product, which requires a publisher to generate higher per-unit sales volumes; create individual design, marketing and promotion campaigns; and provide higher returns to authors and third parties.

Production changes, at least in terms of product dimensions, could have significant unforeseen impacts on the economies of scale currently enjoyed within the production and distribution supply chains. If Mira is to compete with existing single-title publishers, long-term author contracts, royalties and advances could put extreme financial pressure on Harlequin and represent a significant level of investment, which may or may not be realizable in the long-term.

Therefore, the failure of a single-title novel to achieve break-even sales targets has far-reaching consequences; and can seriously damage reputations upon which future sales would depend.

Nevertheless, the most significant threat to the success of Mira is its potential in the US market. The truce with Simon & Schuster achieved at the end of the Romance Wars may not be sustainable, if Harlequin launches

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