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Gerald Mills and Charles Boon, who had both worked at Methuen, jointly founded the publishing house Mills and Boon in 1908. It initially published a varied general list, including quality fiction. Recognised as a publisher of first and early novels, the firm published Dorothea Mackellar's novel Outlaw's Luck, in 1913.
In the 1930s, the company responded to a demand for escapist fiction in cheap editions. It began to concentrate on popular romance, eventually to the exclusion of all other genre. The company adopted innovative sales strategies, such as marketing through newsagencies and supermarkets, and through mail subscription. In 1989 it sold 250 million books worldwide.
In 1958 the Canadian publisher Harlequin Books, began publishing Mills & Boon titles which proved to be enormously popular with Canadian readers. The two companies merged in 1971, becoming Harlequin Mills & Boon. The company publishes romantic fiction in series, under the Harlequin imprint in the United States and Canada, and under the Mills and Boon imprint in the United Kingdom. An Australian subsidiary publishes as Harlequin Mills & Boon Australia. In 2014 Harlequin Enterprises became a division of HarperCollins.