Miller To Leave HarperStudio in May

The news today that Bob Miller, president of HarperStudio, the innovative shared-profit non-returnable publishing imprint of HarperCollins is leaving in May to join Workman Publishing, a large US independent publisher, certainly comes as a little bit of a surprise to the industry, considering Miller only took up his role with HarperStudio in April 2008. By the comments of Miller’s staffers over on HarperStudio’s blog, 26th Story, it certainly came as a surprise to them and it was clear to note a degree of resolve that the imprint would continue under incoming boss, Michael Morrison, currently still working for General Books and Canada, but nevertheless staffer comments were diluted with some trepidation and uncertainty.
Miller signed seventy different authors in his time at HarperStudio and brought on board a mix of authors from the eclectic to the streetwise blogger. It was certainly refreshing to see his staffers opening engaging with the writing community on the HarperStudio website considering they had only just heard the news of Miller’s departure through a memo from HarperCollins CEO, Brian Murray. It is a time like this publishers tend to actually clam up and head for the publishing bunker clutching prized blankets and comfort food. No suck thing with HarperStudio!
Miller said himself today commented in the press release from Workman group:

“I am very proud of what we have accomplished at HarperStudio, and I am sorry to leave this exciting venture behind, but the opportunity to play such a significant role at Workman Publishing is impossible to resist. I have admired Peter Workman and his company from afar throughout my career; now I look forward to working closely with him as Workman Publishing enters its fifth decade as one of our country’s most innovative and successful independent publishers.”

From the Workman Group Press Release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE New York, N.Y., March 17, 2010 – Peter Workman, founder of Workman Publishing, announced today that Robert Miller will join the company as Group Publisher, effective May 3, 2010. In this new role, Miller will work with the current teams at the Workman, Algonquin, and Artisan imprints to make those successful programs even stronger in the ever-changing publishing landscape. Peter Workman will continue as President and CEO of the company, collaborating closely with Miller.

Miller was most recently at HarperCollins, where he started HarperStudio, an imprint that experiments with new models of author compensation, marketing, and distribution, as well as new digital formats. In its first two years, HarperStudio—just named one of the ten most innovative media companies of the year by Fast Company—has had three New York Times bestsellers and has signed seventy authors.

Prior to joining HarperCollins, Miller was President of Hyperion, which he founded for the Walt Disney Company in 1990.

Peter Workman welcomes Miller to Workman, saying, “I’ve reached a time in my life when I need to look to the future of the company and to make changes. As part of our leadership team, Bob will be a vital part of that transition, and all that lies ahead. He shares our entrepreneurial spirit and our enthusiasm for excellence. He knows what it means to create a company and his marvelous publishing instincts will help us take the necessary steps to position the company for continued success.”

In addition, Workman comments: “We have prospered in the past years, and I am enormously proud of the wonderful books—and the superb authors—the company has published. Though I may be kicking myself upstairs, I’m not going all the way to the attic. I look forward to continuing to work, although with different responsibilities.”

Workman Publishing, founded in 1968, is an independent publisher of adult and juvenile trade books, as well as calendars. Known for its innovation in stretching the boundaries of publishing, as well as intensive and creative marketing, Workman has had a string of idiosyncratic bestsellers beginning with B. Kliban’s Cat, The Official Preppy Handbook, and The Silver Palate Cookbooks, through the What to Expect® When You’re Expecting series, Brain Quest®, Fandex®, 1,000 Places to See Before You Die, Gallop!, Younger Next Year, and many more. Its long list of million-copy bestselling authors also includes Sandra Boynton, Steven Raichlen, Anne Byrn and many others.

Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill is best known as a publisher of fiction (most recently, for the bestsellers Water for Elephants and A Reliable Wife). Artisan is a publisher of beautifully crafted books and cookbooks, such as Thomas Keller’s French Laundry and Ad Hoc at Home. Other divisions of the company include Storey Publishing, Timber Press, and HighBridge Audio.

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