Hyperion, the book publisher owned by Disney, is reportedly planning to sell off most of its backlist. Going forward, the company will focus on books that tie into ABC-Disney TV shows, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.
The company, under the direction of publisher Ellen Archer, has been moving in this direction for some time. Last year, it hired former Hollywood talent agent Laura Popper as editorial director of franchise publishing. The goal is for Hyperion to be able to promote its books across multimedia platforms, and it is a lot easier to do that if a book’s author already has his or her own TV show.
The WSJ says that Hyperion will “look for books either linked to ABC television properties or that it believes can be extended to television or other corners of Walt Disney,” citing an unidentified source. Hyperion is already doing this to an extent, publishing books “written by” the main character on the show Castle. It also published cookbooks from the daytime show The Chew and by Jamie Oliver and tie-ins to the soap opera General Hospital.
Hyperion has also had plenty of non-TV-related bestsellers: It publishes Mitch Albom’s books, for example (The Five People You Meet in Heaven), Randy Pausch’s The Last Lecture and J.R. Moehringer’s The Tender Bar, among others. Those big names presumably won’t be sold off, but I’ve asked Hyperion for comment.