HarperCollins Publishers is forming a new publishing group that will substitute profit-sharing with authors for cash advances and will try to eliminate the costly practice of allowing booksellers to return unsold copies.If extravagant advances are one of the problems with publishing, then why did Miller pay an unheard of $6.7 million advance for the rights to a Tuesdays With Morrie clone called The Last Lecture when he was heading Hyperion?
The new unit is HarperCollins’s effort to address what its executives see as some of the more vexing issues of the book industry. “The idea is, ‘Let’s take all the things that we think are wrong with this business and try to change them,’ ” said Mr. Miller, 51.
But then again, what do CEOs really know anyway? As Mark Twain said, "An executive is a man who makes decisions and is sometimes right."