“Get more of that Harlequin feeling.” That’s how romance publisher Harlequin is pitching its new multimedia subscription service, Harlequin Plus. For $14.99 a month or $149.99 a year, after a free seven-day trial, subscribers get access to bundles of new Harlequin novels, and unlimited access to a regularly updated ebook library, romantic movies and gains. Subscribers will be able to access this content through the Harlequin Plus website and via iOS and Android apps. Harlequin describes the experience as convenient and high-end.
“We’re excited to offer a variety of Harlequin content and complementary entertainment all in one place,” said Brent Lewis, executive vice president and publisher, Harlequin Brand Group, in a January 11, 2022 news release. “Fans of romance looking for an uplifting experience are sure to find it within this relaxing and beautifully designed digital platform.”
Monthly book bundles will include titles from across the publisher’s content library, and subscribers can select instant electronic copies, or physical copies sent to their home, Good EReader reports. Book Bundle themes will be curated monthly, and subscribers will have the option to receive electronic or physical copies of their selected books. There will be up to six books per bundle, and each bundle will offer free shipping. Bundles will include titles from across Harlequin’s nine imprints and eleven category romance lines. Readers will be able to access many books before they are available in stores.
Subscribers to the multimedia subscription service will be able to access an e-book library as well. Users will have access to a revolving pool of 10 to 15 books that will be refreshed every month. Additionally, readers will be able to access a selection of romantic movies that will be updated monthly. Casual games will also be offered to help readers relax, and there will be new additions added every month.
This differs from their existing subscription options, the Harlequin Reader Service, which offers both a print and an electronic version. With these options, users have the option to select from one of Harlequin’s categories (romance, suspense, inspirational and larger print), and get two free books from the series of their choice. Pricing varies per category, with Love Inspired being $14.99 per month, and Romance being $12.99 per month for the e-book subscription. Their print option is a little more mysterious in pricing, but Harlequin offers free excerpts, and interested readers will receive two free books, as well as two mystery gifts for signing up.
Eleanor Elliott, Senior Director of Digital Capabilities, said, “Harlequin is proud to continue our reputation as a digital innovator in publishing. The release of Harlequin Plus is a major milestone for us, our authors and our entertainment partners, and I’m proud to work with the team to bring joyful entertainment to romance fans.”
For fans of romance novels and movies, the Harlequin Plus multimedia subscription service is a good fit, even if it is more expensive than broader-based services like Amazon’s Kindle which stretches across genres. We wonder if Harlequin will continue to offer two separate services, or if Harlequin Plus will eventually replace the Harlequin Reader Service. It is a bit confusing to have two similar offerings with similar price points, especially when one offers extra features (print books, ebooks, movies and games). We anticipate that the romance publisher will eventually marry the two services or phase out the older service in favor of the multiplatform experience, assuming it grows in popularity enough to warrant such a move.