Penguin Random House Acquires Leading Literary Merchandise Company Out Of Print
Signaling its intent to greatly expand its author- and imprint-brand-based merchandising capabilities, Penguin Random House has acquired Out of Print, the pioneering creator and retailer of licensed illustrated literary-themed products. Out of Print is celebrated as a destination for its high-quality tee-shirts and its ever-growing variety of inspiring adult and children’s apparel, accessories and home goods featuring iconic book-cover art and original designs. The company is also admired for its book-loving and socially responsible approach to its business, which closely aligns with Penguin Random House values.
The Out of Print acquisition, which closed June 1, was announced today by Nina von Moltke, Executive Vice President, Director, Publishing Development and Author Platforms, and Todd Lawton and Jeffrey LeBlanc, childhood friends who are the company’s co-founders. Terms of the acquisition are not being made public. Out of Print will continue to operate independently out of its Manhattan headquarters, with Messrs. Lawton and LeBlanc both serving in the newly created positions of Managing Director, Out of Print, reporting to Alison Rich, Vice President, Publishing Innovation Development, Penguin Random House.
An Out of Print-created item has become a fashion and reading-taste statement, a literary conversation piece, and a collectible. Founded in 2010, Out of Print has proven preeminent expertise in product sourcing, licensing, design, production and distribution of non-book literary products. It sells its merchandise in over 1,000 bookstores and fashion, college, and gift retailers, as well as on its own popular online consumer destination: outofprintclothing.com.
The company enjoys enduring relationships with many prominent authors, author estates, publishers, visual artists and designers, and licensing agencies, and they look forward to continuing to build upon their product agreements with outside partners both within and beyond the publishing world. Their relationship with Penguin Random House specifically has historically involved licensing both national and international author brands, and has evolved in recent years beyond licensor to strategic partner in various special projects and events.
Among the many Penguin Random House books and authors with Out of Print product tie-ins are Margaret Atwood’s THE HANDMAID’S TALE; George Orwell’s 1984 and ANIMAL FARM; Vladimir Nabokov’s LOLITA; Franz Kafka’s METAMORPHOSIS; Gabriel García Márquez’s ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE; William Golding’s THE LORD OF FLIES; Ian Fleming’s James Bond classics CASINO ROYALE, LIVE AND LET DIE, and MOONRAKER; Louisa May Alcott’s LITTLE WOMEN; Ransom Riggs’s MISS PEREGRINE series; THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR written and illustrated by Eric Carle; R.J. Palacio’s WONDER; and the recently launched Pelican Shakespeare collection featuring art by Manuja Waldia and created in partnership with Penguin Classics.
The promotion of literacy has been Out of Print’s core mission since its inception, and this will continue at Penguin Random House. For every item sold, Out of Print contributes to funding literacy programs and book donations to communities in need. To date, Out of Print has helped to donate more than two million books.
Nina von Moltke said, “Through their outstanding creativity and business-building Out of Print has created recognition and revenue for authors, illustrators, and publishers, and meaningful, fun experiences for readers. With their forward-thinking entrepreneurship, joyful collaborative spirit, and shared social values, they will be enthusiastically welcomed as new members of the Penguin Random House family. We are excited to grow Out of Print’s business together with Jeff and Todd, in collaboration with our publishers, designers, and sales groups, as we provide our authors and retailers with many more literary merchandising opportunities.”
Todd Lawton and Jeff LeBlanc said, “Since our earliest days Penguin Random House has supported our mission to build awareness and excitement around books. We believe that books, and the infinite ways to experience and enjoy them, have the power to bring people together. Working hand-in-hand with Penguin Random House is a tremendous opportunity for all our partners, and for our fans, globally to express their passion for their favorite reading. We cannot be more excited to start writing the next chapter in the Out of Print story.”
With nearly 250 independent imprints and brands on five continents, more than 15,000 new titles and close to 800 million print, audio and e-books sold annually, Penguin Random House is the world’s leading trade book publisher. Penguin Random House is committed to publishing adult and children’s fiction and nonfiction print editions and is a pioneer in digital publishing. Its book brands include storied imprints such as Doubleday, Viking and Alfred A. Knopf (United States); Ebury, Hamish Hamilton and Jonathan Cape (UK); Plaza & Janés and Alfaguara (Spain); Sudamericana (Argentina); and the international imprint DK. Its publishing lists include more than 60 Nobel Prize laureates and hundreds of the world’s most widely read authors. Penguin Random House is dedicated to the mission of nourishing a universal passion for reading by connecting its authors and their writing with readers everywhere.
Out of Print is a New York-based apparel and accessories company dedicated to celebrating the world’s great books and authors through licensed literary-themed products. Its maxim is “Books, worn well.” Launched by lifelong friends Todd Lawton and Jeff LeBlanc in 2010, Out of Print supplies readers of all ages, in over 90 countries, with products that spark conversations and promote reading and the bookish lifestyle. Out of Print merchandise is sold in over 1,000 book, fashion and gift retailers, and online through outofprintclothing.com. As part of its mission, each Out of Print item sold helps to fund literacy programs and book donations to communities in need.
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