New York, New York
Julia Cheiffetz, 30, edits books at HarperStudio, a new imprint of HarperCollins that's trying to rethink both the format of books and the business model. HarperStudio will publish just two books a month and offer authors 50-50 profit sharing, rather than a traditional 7% to 15% royalty.
"There's this sense of doom and gloom in the publishing business, but this is an amazing moment. Ultimately, technology is going to not only enable people to read more but also enable new art forms. At HarperStudio, there's an R&D element to what we're doing. For instance, we gave all of our authors Flip cameras and asked them to start video blogging, opening up their writing process and cultivating an audience as soon as a book is acquired. We're looking at multimedia packaging, such as including a DVD of Isabella Rossellini's Green Porno films along with her new photo book. Dynamic e-books may incorporate video or narrative asterisks, in the same way that you'd go into a museum, put on headphones, and listen to an explanation of the art on the wall. With each project, we think about what kind of experimentation is appropriate. We don't want to sprinkle Cheetos on top of foie gras."
A version of this article appeared in the May 2009 issue of Fast Company magazine.