In a match made in cyber-heaven, Torstar Corp. has agreed to marry its Harlequin Enterprises to Networks, enabling the sale of Harlequin's popular romance novels on the female-centric Web site by this fall.

Chairman and CEO of Marleen McDaniel said of the alliance, "We're very excited about it. We've been working on this relationship for a long time.... Everybody reads romance-even if no one wants to admit it." Torstar has already approved a maximum equity investment of $15 million in 2.5% of the company-and has appointed Torstar president and CEO David Galloway to the board.

Torstar's agreement with is a first step in its attempt to garner a worldwide Internet presence for its Harlequin book publishing business. In addition to selling novels, the Harlequin site-which will be linked to as well as to Torstar. com-will offer visitors the opportunity to join a book club and discuss the latest titles with other readers and authors. It will also offer tips on writing romance novels.

Harlequin's Web site will focus on selling new releases, rather than backlist titles, since many older titles are now out of print. Visitors to the site will not be able to download novels directly, but Torstar's vice president of finance, R.J. Steacy, indicated he will not rule out the option in the future.

Torstar believes that the site will also allow Harlequin to create new revenue opportunities by selling romance-related products. "We haven't set [the products] up yet, but you can imagine-flowers, candy, women's products, those types of things," Steacy told PW ., based in San Mateo, Calif., offers more than 90,000 pages of content on its Web site, organized into 20 topical channels; the most popular are horoscopes, health and careers. also enjoys a strategic relationship with the Hearst Corp. and Rodale Inc. that allows the site to offer a virtual newsstand featuring content from 13 women's magazines.