Hasbro builds on its book program
Hasbro has signed a multi-year publishing agreement with Reader’s Digest Children’s Books to develop board, novelty and hardcover storybooks based on the brands Mr. Potato Head, Easy-Bake Oven, Koosh, Monopoly, Play-Doh, Scrabble and Transformers. The first title to come out of the deal, Mr. Potato Head Make Your Own Tater Tales, hits stores this month. It will be followed by two other Tater and Scrabble Jr. titles this summer, and by Transformers and Easy-Bake Oven books in the fall.
Though it’s known for toys, Hasbro has been steadily building a sizeable book program since forming its publishing group two years ago. Currently, Hasbro has approximately 20 publishing licensees on-board, many of which hold specific book category rights to the same Hasbro toy property. ‘Signing multiple deals [with different companies] gives us the chance to work with publishers that have expertise in a specific genre, format or distribution channel,’ says Tom Klusaritz, VP of global publishing and new business development for Hasbro Consumer Products. Hasbro’s book program stands to enjoy even more growth soon; at press time, Klusaritz was looking to sign new book licensees for its G.I. Joe, Transformers and Playskool brands.
N2 has Zits
Hearst Entertainment has given the nod to Cincinnati, Ohio-based N2 Toys to manufacture figures based on characters from Jim Borgan’s comic strip Zits. According to the licensing agreement, N2 will create two items–a seven-inch collectible figure modeled after the strip’s main character Jeremy (US$19), and a collectible figurine of him slumped in a chair, playing guitar. The strip, which runs in 1,000 U.S. dailies, follows the adventures of an angst-ridden teen who’s trying to become a rock musician and make sense of his existence at the same time. Zits, which has already spawned five books (all published by Andrews McMeel), is also currently being adapted as a live-action feature film by Universal Studios.
Hooray pulls into Barnes & Noble
Hooray, the consumer products division of The itsy bitsy Entertainment Company, will release a new preschool book series exclusively through Barnes & Noble and B. Dalton stores this May. Retailing for between US$6.99 and US$11.99 each, the three books (About Time!, About Weather! and About Months of the Year!), are designed to help tots develop their verbal communications and critical thinking skills.