Author of her own destiny


By Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson

The solitary bookcase in Jane Friedman’s SoHo office is half empty. Her home library has 10,000 volumes, she says, but after a 40-year publishing career that saw her rise from being a Dictaphone typist at Random House to chief executive of HarperCollins, she rarely picks up a hardback nowadays.

Three years after her abrupt exit from Rupert Murdoch’s books division, Ms Friedman now reads on an Amazon Kindle. It is one of many changes since setting up Open Road Integrated Media in 2009 to crack the challenging market created by the Kindle and rival e-reading devices, such as Barnes & Noble’s Nook and the Sony Reader, and Apple’s iPad.

At the helm of HarperCollins, Ms Friedman oversaw a staff of 3,000, from New York to New Delhi. Now her employees number about 25 and she is not ready to disclose her start-up’s revenues and targets.

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