Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Harlequin buys BET Books

Julie Moffett reports in her Market News column that Harlequin is planning to acquire BET Books. Here's the press release:

Harlequin Enterprises Limited has bought the assets of BET BOOKS, the publishing arm of Black Entertainment Television. The deal is expected to be sealed on November 30, 2005. The purchase is seen by many in the publishing industry as a move to cement Harlequin's role as the key publishers of women's fiction in the world. BET Books is the U.S.'s leading publisher of African-American romance novels under the Arabesque imprint. *

Well, you know, that's all well and good. However, a while ago, an acquaintance who writes for Harlequin once explained that since many of the editors are located in Canada, she was told to avoid Americanisms like "girlfriend," as in "you go, girlfriend," in her writing because not everybody in Canada would understand them and the terms were too regional (read "black") for their readership. I'm not saying anything, here, about Canadians and people of color (I happen to have people of color relatives who live in Canada, very happily it seems), and I do admire Harlequin to some degree for pursuing their monolithic desire to dominate the world market so that eventually, we will all read the same thing, think the same thing, write the same thing (The World, According to the Harlequin Bible). Hey, you gotta respect people when they set high goals, and world domination is right up there.

Really, I'm not making any point whatsoever. But if you intend to write for the BET Books after it's purchased by Harlequin , may I just say one thing?

You go, girlfriend!


*Excerpt reprinted with the permission of Washington Romance Writers and Julie Moffett.

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