New York-based agency Surge Licensing has inked a deal to bring kids book author/illustrator Diane Alber’s catalogue of art-focused titles to life as consumer products.
Alber self-publishes her books on Amazon, and Surge will initially focus on partnering with publishers to expand the author’s reach, says SVP of business development and licensing Elan Freedman. Surge then plans to expand the books into toys, soft lines, apparel, back-to-school merch and home décor.
Alber creates art-focused books such as I’m Not Just A Scribble, which was first published in 2017 and went on to become a top-ranked book on Amazon. Her other book brands include Little Spot, focused on teaching kids about emotions, and Never Let A…, which features a unicorn who introduces kids to art and imaginative play.
The books are aimed at a preschool audience, though Freedman is envisioning a CP program that reaches up to age 12. He also sees potential in Alber’s characters becoming mascots for brands, and is planning to explore future screen adaptations as well.
The books have proven their popularity with families and teachers, and readership has spiked during lockdown as consumers have sought out content that blends education with creativity, Freedman says.
“COVID-19 has led to an increased demand for content that helps parents and kids talk about emotions, and [ways for] kids to express themselves,” Freedman says. “These books, which teach them about art, gives them a way to speak to others, even if they might not have any language skills yet.”