So I had a bad feeling when Newscorp (via Harper Collins) bought Harlequin Publishing in 2014. Yesterday, authors began discussing (on Twitter) an email regarding the future of some of Harlequin's imprints. Blaze will no longer be an imprint in 2017. Harlequin Historical will go to ebook version only on the main Harlequin site and ebook and print at certain vendors (hello Amazon). Most of Harlequin's "romance" lines (contemporary romances I think is what "romances" are referring to) are going to the same format as historical (ebook and print at only certain vendors). I don't know yet how this affects Harlequin's imprint Love Inspired lines; Love Inspired is the religiously-toned lines that include suspense, historical, and contemporary romances.
Although I tend to read the historical lines when it comes to Harlequin, I am saddened by the news as it means less options for readers who prefer to read print books over ebooks. (For the record, I read both ebook and print, so it doesn't affect me as much). The decision also affects those readers who get their Harlequin fix via the library - and libraries are going to be forced to go digital to keep supplying their patrons with Harlequin products. Libraries are already in a bind when it comes to digital books due to the pricing structure and lending policies that are far different from print books.
I am also concerned for the authors, because it limits their books reach. One of the main reasons I love Harlequin Historicals/Love Inspired Historicals is that the settings are Anything But Regency (as Super Librarian Wendy pointed out on Twitter). Westerns, Medieval, Vikings, French Revolution, the Jazz Age - so much variety that expands beyond pretty debs and rich titled guys hanging out in ballrooms. Now I feel that authors will be pressured to write in the Regency time period because that is what everyone else is doing. I feel one of the reasons Regency era books have taken over historical romance genre is that it is the only thing publishers are putting out, ergo the only "thing" that is selling - rather than have a variety of time periods and letting the market/readership choose where to spend their dollars.
I am opening up this post for anyone who wants to vent, comment, cry, make any points I didn't get to, etc. The floor is yours!