Also published on this date: Shelf Awareness for Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Wednesday, January 26 Dedicated Issue: Running Press's 50th Annivesary

Introducing RP Mystic: Our community of readers bringing magic, mysticism, and wellness into their lives

Editors' Note

Happy 50th Anniversary, Running Press!

With the support of the publisher, Shelf Awareness celebrates the 50th anniversary of Running Press with contributions from leaders of the company about its mission of publishing great books and related products well--creatively pushing the bounds in content, form, format and more.


Books & Authors

A Welcome from Publisher Kristin Kiser

Kristin Kiser

Happy 50th birthday to Running Press! A half century ago two brothers, Stuart "Buz" and Larry Teacher, founded an independent publishing company, based in Philadelphia. Running Press published beautifully crafted books that entertained, inspired, and instructed, and they created innovative, exciting formats to engage consumers. You can see this legacy in everything we do at Running Press.

Still headquartered in Philadelphia, Running Press today includes five imprints, almost 200 titles a year, and employees in Philly and New York. Now owned by Hachette Book Group, Running Press still retains the independent spirit and creative drive that fueled the company 50 years ago. We are laser-focused on finding new audiences, designs, formats, and opportunities. Our five publishing programs allow us to work in unique ways with authors and content creators—many of our authors publish across the different imprints. We dream big with our creative partners and help them find new ways to connect with their audiences. And we have a lot of fun doing it!

At Running Press Adult, we look for the enthusiasts and have created two content hubs catering to fans looking for entertainment and inspiration. At RP Entertains, you will find books for people who love film, music, humor, and sports, with expert authors and beloved and enduring licensed brands. At RP Inspires, we publish enchantedly packaged titles for the mystical, magical enthusiast, as well as books on creativity, food and drink, and self-help titles that celebrate solutions.

Running Press Kids publishes a range of engaging board and picture books, middle grade and YA nonfiction dedicated to children's wellness and self-care, and fiction and nonfiction for parents and kids of all ages interested in geek and pop culture.

RP Studio, which launched in 2018, is a fast-growing gift line of tarot and oracle card decks, trivia card decks, puzzles, games, advent calendars, journals, and stationery.

RP Minis provides the maximum amount of fun in an irresistible small-size format. The toys, games, and collectibles in this line feature top licensed brands and innovative homegrown ideas that routinely become the gift to give every holiday season.

In 2017 we were thrilled that Black Dog & Leventhal became part of the Running Press family. With its own rich legacy as a successful independent company, BDL's larger-format, stunningly illustrated books in science, math, art, pop culture, and kids' reference are the perfect complement to Running Press's program.

Our special sauce at Running Press is our thoughtful marriage of package and trend, format and author. And it is our people who make this possible. Creative, generous, curious, our team takes fun very seriously. We want our readers and consumers to have the best experience interacting with our content, and we want our creative partners to feel like they have found a home. As we embark on the next 50 years at Running Press, we are excited to fully embody what the company has always believed: Everyone is a maker. So let's make some magic together!


RP Minis: Beautifully Crafted Mini Books in a Delightful Little Box

Jennifer Leczkowski

At RP Minis we are fulfilling the goal set 30+ years ago, to create a successful program around a unique format for publishing—a beautifully crafted mini book plus miniature component in a delightful little box. And we have had a lot of success—2021 was our best year in recent history! Now in partnership with more than 30 licensors across 90 brands, RP Minis reaches for that extra element—light, sound, movement—to elevate our products from cute to must-have collectibles for these brands. Our licensing partners love our Running Press twist. We also have continued our legacy of collaborative brainstorming on what we call "home-grown" titles.  Some of our bestselling minis are in-house ideas, like The Screaming Goat and Wacky Waving Inflatable Tube Guy. And we love giving Running Press authors a fun way to extend their brands with their very own mini kits.

I've always been drawn to miniatures and what we are able to achieve in such a small format. Technology and production advances allow us to consider fascinating new enhancements for our products. The next irresistible RP Mini idea could come from any member of the team, not just the editorial and production groups—licensing partners, publicists and marketers, our sales colleagues who bring back exciting feedback from our retail partners.  As our program and title count continues to grow, we can't wait for the next great idea ... maybe yours? —Jennifer Leczkowski, Director, RP Minis and Licensing


The Creative Vision: Constantly Evolving, Adapting, Staying Fresh

Frances Soo Ping Chow

A creative vision needs to evolve constantly; after nearly 30 years with Running Press, it still excites me to know that "Every obstacle yields to effort" as Leonardo Da Vinci said, and that keeps me on my toes. Our success is possible because of the camaraderie, respect, and the talent—both in-house and out-of-house—that Running Press nurtures. My team amazes me with their creativity.  We don't just design beautiful books, we are involved in the acquisition process right from the beginning. We remain adaptable, nimble, and fresh by collaborating with new, diverse illustrators and designers, bringing our authors' and partners' vision to the market. —Frances Soo Ping Chow, Creative Director

Running Press Adult: The Night School: Lessons in Moonlight, Magic, and the Mysteries of Being Human by Maia Toll, illustrated by Lucille Clerc

Product Development: Irresistible Packages at the Right Price

Frank Sipala

Whenever I think about developing a mini kit or any kind of book-plus format, I ask: What can we do that's different? What can we add that other products don't offer? And can we do it with an irresistible package at the right price? We can, and do, even when the development and production process is really complex. That's Running Press's edge—we can make it happen. New technology and our competitors help push us to achieve more. 

I get excited when the team gets excited; that's why this coming fall's first advent calendars are pet projects of mine, there's a lot of energy in-house around this format, and it is among the most intricate and challenging we've ever done. We identified that there was a hole in the marketplace and filled it: Our calendars, with long-term licensing partners, will feature unique sound elements. —Frank Sipala, Senior Production Manager/Manager of Product Development


RP Studio: Adding to the Book With Journals, Cards, Mini Kits

Shannon Connors Fabricant

Running Press has the extraordinary ability to think about the end product at the beginning of our creative process, conceiving of a total package that will be irresistible to the consumer. We are consumer-focused and format-forward, and this guides all of our collaborative efforts. This is why RP Studio is a natural extension of our 50-year legacy, allowing us to invite people in through different access points, including a wide variety of traditional and non-traditional retailers.

I love joining an incredible author's idea with an illustrator's vision, collaborating to create a keepsake that's a half-step beyond anything that's already in the market. Many submissions come to us as books, while we look at an acquisition and see a suite of possible products, which could include a book, a guided journal, a mini kit, a card deck. Ash+Chess's forthcoming Queer Tarot: An Inclusive Deck and Guide Book is a great example: There's so much content it could have been published as a traditional book. But our book-plus-cards format, followed a few months later by a journal, captures the creators' production values as well as their mission of inclusivity and diversity. I can't wait for the next inspiring proposal and collaboration. —Shannon Connors Fabricant, Executive Editor, RP Inspires and RP Studio

RP Entertains: Finding Niches, Trusting Consumers, Attending to the Details

Cindy Sipala

Running Press is where I translate my own passion into a publishing vision: I'm a superfan looking for the ultimate enthusiast's experience. It's this spirit that infuses my projects. Being part of the team for more than 15 years, I know success comes from never ignoring a niche, always trusting the passionate consumer, and carefully attending to the details. Expanding the audience is key, whether it's partnering with authors or licensors to attract readers, or providing books and support that help our sales team inspire their accounts and break into new markets. I love new markets: I look for them everywhere. This lens supports our authors and partners; for example, we're leaning into our long-term program with Turner Classic Movies (with more than 20 titles available) by expanding into new formats. Turner Classic Movies Ultimate Trivia Card Deck and our first puzzle featuring cinema's golden-age stars will publish this year. And as a new mom, I'm eager for our first TCM kids' book in 2023! —Cindy Sipala, Executive Editor, RP Entertains

Running Press Kids: Where Books Go to Play

Julie Matysik

Our imprint's mission statement says a lot: Running Press Kids is where books go to play! We want each book, journal, etc., to be more than a reading experience. We want to engage the reader through text married to exceptional illustration, inspiring the audience and sparking fun. Kids journey to joy while absorbing social-emotional learning concepts, self-care support, and inclusive, diverse perspectives. Children's books build the next generation of enthusiasts, and our books empower that future today. —Julie Matysik, Editorial Director, RP Kids

Inventory Management: Serving Consumers and Retailers

Karen Noble

After 45 years at Running Press, some things remain consistent. We're always looking to bring the consumer something special and serve the retailers with quality products available in the quantity they need, when they need it. From the day I started in January 1977—entering individual Barnes & Noble store orders on a database via typewriter!—I've had the exciting opportunity to be involved in all aspects of the publishing process. That's critical to a long, healthy career: Keep learning, keep asking, keep growing, absorb everything. My mission is consumer-focused: Serve them by carefully curating stock levels and balancing frontlist and backlist focus. And I'm still learning, as Running Press expands into new formats with new brands, with bestsellers—that's always fun!—as well as titles that build into tomorrow's evergreen essentials. —Karen Noble, Director, Inventory Management

50 Years of Running Press

Running Press Kids Help Kids Embrace Diversity

RP Studio: Turner Classic Movies Ultimate Movie Trivia Challenge: 400+ Questions to Test Your Knowledge by Frank Miller

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