Harlequin has launched Harlequin Plus, a new multimedia subscription service. Priced at $14.99 per month, Harlequin Plus will offer subscribers monthly book bundles, access to an e-book library, and a regularly updated selection of movies and games, all geared toward romance readers. The service will be available through both the Harlequin Plus website and app.
Harlequin executive v-p and publisher Brent Lewis called Harlequin Plus “one of the first multimedia subscription-based services to come out of book publishing.” Harlequin has operated its direct-to-consumer book club for over 50 years, and Lewis sees Harlequin Plus as an “evolution” of this service by expanding into other forms of media. With Harlequin Plus, Lewis touted that readers can now access “Harlequin content and complementary entertainment all in one place.”
Monthly themed book bundles will include titles from across the publisher’s nine imprints, selected by what Lewis called “a team of romance publishing experts.” Subscribers can receive either e-book bundles or physical copies delivered to their home. Themed book bundles for February include the Romantic Comedy Collection, the Sweet Magnolias Starter Pack, Romance by Black Authors, Amish Romance, and LGBTQ+ Romance. The platform’s e-book library refreshes with 10-15 new books each month.
Harlequin worked with other organizations to license the platform’s collection of films and games, both of which will be updated monthly, with a focus on “feel-good entertainment,” the company said. The February 2022 movie library includes the 2009 films 4 Minutes and The Greatest and the 2013 films Love Will Keep Us Together and Crazy Kind of Love. The game library includes such offerings as Unicorn Blast, Kawaii Jump, and Bubble Invasion.
The launch of Harlequin Plus is Harlequin's attempt to push beyond the bounds of literature into the broader "content" category. Lewis believes the platform's targeted curation helps prevent what he called “content overload,” and added that Harlequin Plus is an example of a new direction that publishing is taking and will continue to take in order to “compete against competitive entertainment options.”