Friday, March 12, 2010

HarperCollins at the 29th Annual First Year Experience Conference

Last month, HarperCollins attended the 29th Annual First Year Experience Conference in Denver. Though the conference lasted only three days, we got the opportunity to meet many first-year coordinators and enjoyed speaking with everyone about our books and the FYE title selection process. We even gave out nearly 500 copies of our FYE catalog on USB drives.

On the first night of the conference we co-hosted a dinner with Penguin. Harper authors Adam Shepard and Amanda Little spoke about issues and themes related to their books, touching on many topics that would spark provocative discussions in courses across a variety of disciplines.

Adam explained the motivation behind his experiment that served as the basis for his memoir, Scratch Beginnings. After he graduated from college, Adam moved to Charleston, South Carolina with $25 and the goal of earning $2500, a car, and a place to live by the end of the year. Adam’s book is great for freshmen because, much like Barbara Ehrenreich’s Nickel and Dimed, it’s the kind of book that invites debate about what it means to be working poor in the United States and whether or not the American Dream is still viable.

Amanda spoke about Power Trip, recounting several anecdotes from the time she spent researching and writing her book about America’s relationship with energy and fossil fuels. This book has the unique distinction of being both thoroughly researched and academic in scope, while also being accessible and optimistic – Amanda refers to Power Trip as, “Guns, Germs and Steel meets Eat Pray Love.” She highlighted the importance of her book by quoting President Obama who, in a recent interview, stressed the importance of green jobs in tomorrow’s job economy. Those students who possess an understanding of green technologies, Amanda insisted, will have a distinct advantage when they are seeking employment in the job market.

On Monday we co-hosted a luncheon with Knopf, Penguin, and Macmillan. Though Kevin Michael Connolly (author of Double Take) was scheduled to speak, he was unfortunately unable to attend due to sudden illness.

Some other popular titles that are being considered or have been adopted for first year programs include:
Freakonomics: University of Louisville
Sounds of the River: Marian University (WI)
The Great Deluge: Southern Illinois University
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: UNC Charlotte, Maryville University (MO), Boise State University
Savage Inequalities: Framingham State College

Children of Dust: The College of Wooster

On behalf of HarperCollins we’d like to thank everyone who attended the conference and stopped by our booth. We enjoyed meeting all of you and look forward to working with you in the future.

If you’d like to order an exam copy of a book being considered for first year adoption, or if you have questions about discounts for large academic orders or if you’re interested in having an author speak on campus, please email
academic@harpercollins.com.

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