"We've increased the number of editorial pages specifically to honor John," said Jack Kliger, Hachette president-CEO.
Company executives believe the issue, due out in late September, will be a big seller. Plans are to more than double the number of copies sent to newsstands. The normal run of 600,000 copies will rise to 1 million copies for October, Mr. Kliger confirmed.
HONORING PEOPLE OF NOTE
Tribute issues are a prevalent publishing phenomenon. Recent years have seen issues honoring the lives of Princess Diana and Frank Sinatra. But a magazine honoring its own editor is not as common, and the protocol is less clear.
The July Harper's Bazaar paid tribute to Editor in Chief Elizabeth Tilberis after she died from ovarian cancer in June. The cover price and copies printed stayed the same.
Single-copy sales for the tribute issue were up 34% over the previous year, said a Hearst spokesman. All ad revenue was donated to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund.
Hachette also plans to make "a substantial donation" to a charity supported by Mr. Kennedy, Mr. Kliger said. The funds are likely to go to Reaching Up, an East Harlem, N.Y. program for kids.
But at least one rival publishing executive finds the Hachette approach opportunistic.
"Raising the price seems to be in bad taste," the executive said. "Instead of a memorial, it appears as if they are capitalizing on the death of John Kennedy."
SOME STAFFERS UNEASY
Even at Hachette, some staffers expressed discomfort. "They want it to appear altruistic, making a donation to John's charity. But upping the price seems to say they also want to make a profit," said one insider.
Mr. Kliger defends the decision, citing increased costs. The donation will offset increased revenue the October issue may bring, he said. While some tribute ads were sold, those pages number fewer than 10, and all copy in the ads was run by Kennedy family representatives, he said.
"If anyone is beginning to snipe that we are doing this to make money, they don't understand publishing," Mr. Kliger said.
Whether Hachette continues to publish George past the December issue is still to be determined. Mr. Kliger has met with representatives for the Kennedy family,