MySpace is getting into the book business. The online social network, an increasingly popular venue for authors, booksellers and publishers, is collaborating with a children's imprint of HarperCollins on an environmental handbook coming out April 22, Earth Day.
"How great it is to launch a partnership with a company with as large an influence as MySpace on such an important topic," Jane Friedman, President and CEO of HarperCollins, said Wednesday in a statement.
"MySpace has entire online communities, such as the Impact Channel and OurPlanet, dedicated solely to environmental and social causes," Tom Anderson, co-founder and president of MySpace, said in a statement. "The first MySpace book is just one more way we are working to engage the MySpace community in environmental issues and encourage people to take action."
The paperback original, to be called "MySpace/Our Planet: Change is Possible," will be written by freelance journalist Jeca Taudte and include a foreword by Anderson. According to Brenda Bowen, vice president and publisher of the Bowen Press, a HarperCollins imprint, "MySpace/Our Planet" will be about 160 pages and cost about $12.95. A first printing of 200,000 is planned.
The book will feature ideas from MySpace users, who through Nov. 7 can post environmental tips on http://www.myspace.com/ourplanet. Bowen says about 40 such suggestions, their length ranging from a sentence to a paragraph, will be woven throughout the text. MySpace contributors who end up in the book will not be paid, but will be credited by their usernames and geographic locations.
"The main idea we want to get across is that teenagers are not only contributing to this book, but are being provided a blueprint on how to help the environment," Bowen told The Associated Press.
MySpace already has projects with other media, including a collaboration with MTV on dialogues between voters and presidential candidates. Bowen and MySpace's senior vice president for public affairs, Jeff Berman, agree that other book projects are likely.
"We're always talking to potential partners about big ideas and this one with HarperCollins made a lot of sense," Berman says. "We want to be at the forefront of user-generated media, and books are an important part of that."