HarperCollins' It Books imprint is getting a new name, and a slightly new focus. The pop culture-focused line, which launched in 2009, will now be called Dey Street Books, and unveil its first list in fall 2014. Part of HC's William Morrow division, Dey Street--the name is an homage to a lower Manhattan street that will border HC's future headquarters downtown--will continue to be overseen by Lynn Grady, a senior v-p and publisher.
It Books was originally run by former Harper Perennial publisher Carrie Kania, who left in 2011 to become a literary agent in London. After Kania, Cal Morgan took the reins at the imprint before, in May 2013, Grady was named publisher. The editorial team will not be changing, with the current five-person staff of Carrie Thornton (executive editor); Mark Chait (executive editor); Denise Oswald (senior editor); Brittany Hamblin (editor); and Bethany Larson (assistant editor).
Launched to a notable amount of fanfare within publishing circles, It Books was known for doing irreverent books such as Justin Halperin's 2010 bestseller Sh*t My Dad Says (based on a popular Twitter feed in which the author, a former Maxim editor, delivered nuggets of wisdom from his sweet, but curmudgeonly, father). It Books also had a reputation for doing celebrity memoirs, like Red (2011), by former Van Halen frontman Sammy Hagar, and Booky Wook 2 (2010), by British actor/comedian Russell Brand.
Dey Street will bring more of the same, especially in the way of celebrity titles; books by, among others, Amy Poehler and Alan Cumming will be on the imprint's first list. HC said that "eventually" all books published by It Books will transition to the Dey Street name. As for why the changes, especially if Dey Street will continue to publish in the same vein as It Books, HC explained that it's about tweaking a working formula, as opposed to starting fresh.
Grady put it this way: "While It Books has developed a terrific track record with publishing national bestsellers in the pop culture space, our goal with Dey Street Books is to broaden our program without losing our core area of focus. Our list will be defined by books from authors who provoke, inspire, educate, or entertain."
The imprint's name refers to HarperCollins's new location, which will be at the corner of Broadway and Dey Street. The new headquarters, HC said, happens to have historical significance, being the building where the first transcontinental telephone call was placed. Dey Street will, HC went on, tap into the "spirit of connectivity" signified by this historical footnote. The new imprint will publish both fiction and nonfiction and, bringing that phone imagery into play, HC said "link authors and their readers" through innovative marketing and publicity efforts. And the expanded focus means that Dey Street will publish across a wider range than It Books did; the new imprint will do everything from "memoir and music, to narrative nonfiction, self-help, and beyond."
Michael Morrison, president and publisher of HarperCollins, added: "By broadening the publishing program, I’m convinced they will reach more readers while maintaining their focus on each individual book.”