Late last year Houghton Mifflin Harcourt began changing its branding and traded its dolphin logo dating from the 1880s for three triangles. In a press release, HMH explained: “Our brand is intended to clarify our common purpose, define our space and capabilities, appeal to a broader audience, and signal a bold, confident future.” That future is continuing to play out in other ways, including a new moniker and reorg for HMH Children’s Books.
Starting in spring 2014, HMH is “retiring” the Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, Harcourt Children’s Books, Sandpiper paperback, Graphia, and HMH Books novelty imprints and placing them all under one umbrella, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers. The only exception will be Clarion Books, which will remain a separate imprint.
“This new configuration expands our creative and editorial focus while streamlining administrative work for the group going forward,” says Betsy Groban, senior v-p and publisher of the HMH Children’s Book Group.
The former Houghton and Harcourt hardcover teams have been blended into one editorial group, under Mary Wilcox, who was recently promoted to editor-in-chief. The New York team will carry on in New York, the Boston team in Boston. No personnel changes are involved, except for some minor juggling of responsibilities, as senior executive editor Jeannette Larson, former editorial director of Harcourt Children’s Books, wrote in a letter to authors. She is looking forward to giving up much of her administrative work and focusing on acquiring and editing more books. “There’s a lot of respect here for our shared HMH heritage, so that’s not changing even though our name is shifting a bit,” she noted. Paperback publishing will continue under the leadership of editorial director Julia Richardson; digital publishing under editorial director Daniel Nayeri.
HMH is also continuing the evolution of its best-known properties. In a conference call on 2012 results CEO and president Linda Zecher said that a revamped Curious George Web site is currently in beta and will be officially launched the second quarter. The company has also purchased the CuriousKids domain and is leveraging its nonfiction content to create an early childhood site – so it’s not just the dolphin that’s changing as HMH looks for new opportunities.