Monday, March 17, 2008

Harlequin Mills and Boon

Mills and Boon celebrates their centenary this year, but many don't know how that fits into Harlequin's history, or how Harlequin fits into Mills and Boon history. In the UK, you've grown up with Mills and Boon, but in North America, you might not even know who Mills and Boon is - because in NA the name Harlequin is synonymous with Romance.

I thought today would be a good time to explain how this all came about, and what better source than the Mills and Boon website:

In 1971, the companies (Mills and Boon and Harlequin) merged. A few years later, a controlling interest was sold to the Torstar Corporation, a Canadian communications company.

The development led the company on the road to unprecedented expansion and profit. With the injection of funds, during the 1970s, the publisher started to advance across the globe - their overseas acquisitions and partnerships took the company's brand of love stories to bookshelves in The Netherlands, Germany, France, Sweden, Italy, Greece and as far a field as Japan.
The company also marketed books in a different way and now readers could have the books delivered directly to their doorstep, along with special gifts and reader questionnaires.

Such was their worldwide domination, by the mid 1980s Harlequin Mills & Boon were selling in the region of 250 million books worldwide.

The initiatives speak for themselves - in 1989 to mark Harlequin’s 40th anniversary, every one of the company's 100 foreign markets published the same title on the same date, A Reason For Being by Penny Jordan - their most popular writer. When the Berlin Wall came down in 1990, staff from their West German office handed out 750,000 free copies to women from East Germany. Sheila Holland (Charlotte Lamb) said: "Mills & Boon put my books all over Europe but Harlequin has built an Empire".

The lines edited out of the Mills and Boon office, in Richmond, Surrey, are Modern/Presents, Modern Heat/Promo Presents, Medicals, Historicals, and our very own Romance.

P.S....Don't forget, there's still time to enter to win a copy of Jennie's March release, TO LOVE AND TO CHERISH! Send an e-mail with the subject line JENNIE to to enter!

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