Harlequin Enterprises is celebrating its 60th birthday by offering free downloadable books to everybody in America. As part of its 60th anniversary celebrations, the women's fiction publisher is inverting the tradition of receiving gifts on one's birthday by offering 16 free of its titles free of charge.
The 16 titles, written by some of Harlequin's top-selling and most popular authors, are available for digital download throughout 2009 at http://www.harlequincelebrates.com/. The total approximate retail value of the free books is $60.00.
In addition to giving away free books, Harlequin will be celebrating 60 years of pure reading pleasure through a number of events and commemorative programs.
In May, Harlequin hosts an exhibition of original cover art entitled The Heart of a Woman: Harlequin Cover Art 1949-2009, which includes some pieces that have not been seen in close to 60 years. Opening at the Openhouse Gallery in New York City on May 29, 2009, the display will feature more than a hundred original works of art and will include cover art from Harlequin's beginnings in 1949 to the present day. The exhibition offers a unique insight into the profound changes that have occurred in women's lives over the past six decades--changes that have been captured and reflected on the front of Harlequin novels--from shifts in private desires to shifts in the politics of gender.
The romance publishing giant will also be highlighting some of its most popular series in retail stores across the country in 2009. In March, June and September the Harlequin Famous Firsts Collection reissues some of the first books ever written for Harlequin by some of today's New York Times bestselling authors. Every month in 2009 the Series Spotlight program will highlight a different series from the wide variety of stories, authors, classic themes and returning families for which Harlequin readers clamor. Harlequin will also be presenting appearances by more than 70 New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling authors over its series all year long.
Harlequin was founded by Richard Bonnycastle in Winnipeg, Canada, in 1949. In the early years, the small firm published a wide variety of American and British paperbacks--from mysteries and Westerns to classics and cookbooks. Harlequin began publishing romance fiction in 1957. By 1964, Harlequin was publishing romances exclusively. The publisher is, today, synonymous with romance fiction.