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Originally published Wednesday, May 1, 2013 at 1:25 PM

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Mitch Albom switches publishers, has 3-book deal

Mitch Albom, one of the country's most popular authors, has a new publisher and a new novel coming this fall.

AP National Writer

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NEW YORK —

Mitch Albom, one of the country's most popular authors, has a new publisher and a new novel coming this fall.

The author of the sentimental favorite "Tuesdays With Morrie" has a three-book deal with Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Albom's previous publisher was the Disney-owned Hyperion, where he had spent much of his career.

At Harper, Albom will be edited by Karen Rinaldi, a friend since the 1990s when she attempted - and failed- to acquire "Tuesdays With Morrie" for Crown.

"I have never forgotten our first meeting and his subsequent success, which have always been bittersweet for me," Rinaldi said in a statement. "It is particularly satisfying to bring Mitch to Harper, where our team's expertise and spirit of collaboration will create an unprecedented focus and passion for the next phase of Mitch's exceptional writing career."

"We see stories the same way," Albom, 54, said in a statement. "It's going to be a joy working with her."

Harper told The Associated Press on Wednesday that Albom's next book is called "The First Phone Call from Heaven," the story of a small Michigan town where residents start receiving phone calls from those in the afterlife. Albom said in the statement that the new novel "is maybe my favorite story yet, a tale of belief, love and mystery."

Albom, whose previous works include "Have a Little Faith" and "The Five People You Meet in Heaven," had been a signature author for Hyperion, which has been focusing in recent years on books tied to a fellow Disney company, ABC television. Albom's agent, David Black, declined to comment on why he left Hyperion and instead emphasized his bond with Rinaldi, Harper's senior vice president and executive editor. Hyperion issued a statement Wednesday saying, "We hope Mitch Albom's career continues to grow."

Financial terms for Albom's deal with Harper were not disclosed.

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