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Hardie Grant launches free newspaper

Hardie Grant Books has launched a free newspaper-style publication that features book extracts and author interviews, called First Pages.

The first edition of First Pages was distributed to cafes in Melbourne and Sydney during the past week, and was made available at the Sydney Writers’ Festival. The issue features writing and interviews from Hardie Grant authors Katerina Cosgrove (Bone Ash Sky), Jo Case (Boomer and Me), Paul Anderson (The Robbers), Denise Scott (The Tour), Andrea Frost (Through a Sparkling Glass) and Summer Land (Summerlandish: Do as I Say, not as I did, published in September).

The publication, which is the same size as a tabloid newspaper, is also available to booksellers via Hardie Grant sales reps, and as a free ebook through Kobo, Apple and Amazon.

Hardie Grant Books marketing director Roxy Ryan told Books+Publishing that Hardie Grant hopes to make First Pages an ongoing series, and there are plans to publish a Christmas edition, which will be distributed beyond Melbourne and Sydney. ‘The first edition was really an experiment that we worked on with our publishers to see how it is received by the book trade and consumers,’ said Ryan.  

There is also room for different types of content within First Pages, said Ryan. ‘We’ll concentrate on extracts from books and interviews with authors as it’s predominantly a marketing exercise to get the books out there to consumers, but there is certainly scope for recipe extracts and other content from our illustrated books in the future. We don’t want to concentrate solely on new releases either—we want to be able to highlight great backlist titles too.’

Ryan said Hardie Grant created First Pages as a way ‘to make extracts from [its] narrative, non-illustrated books available to consumers as easily as possible’. ‘We wanted to get the attention of the trade and consumers with First Pages by doing something different to drive sales of our books and get people into bookshops,’ said Ryan. ‘As a publisher, it’s difficult to get your content out to people [and] we rely on booksellers and the media a lot. But we were inspired by the rise of quality street papers like Broadsheet and saw a gap in the market for something that was about reading and books.’

‘Being predominantly known as an illustrated publisher, we also needed to highlight our new narrative list to booksellers and the industry,’ said Ryan. ‘We wanted to show booksellers that this is an area we are publishing into with great authors and great titles. We’ve never done anything like this before so we’re excited to see the reaction. It’s been really positive so far.’



Category: Local news