Out of Print-ABA Literary Masks in Bookstores Next Week
A line of face masks from Out of Print, the Penguin Random House company that creates book-centric apparel and accessory items, and the American Booksellers Association has been the biggest new-product launch in Out of Print's 10-year history.
The seven Out of Print Literary Masks, a mix of licensed book art and original designs, which were available for pre-order in late June, sold more than 13,000 in their first week. They are available at outofprint.com and will begin selling at bookstores nationwide next week for $12 each. A portion of each sale is being donated to the Book Industry Charitable Foundation (Binc) to assist bookstores affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The three most popular masks have been "The Pigeon," based on art from the Mo Willems book; and "Bookshelf" and "Banned Books," both OOP original designs. Others in the series are "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy," inspired by the Douglas Adams novel; "Book Nerd," an OOP + Underlined collaboration; "Curl Up with a Book," an OOP original design; and "Books, Books, Books," an OOP + Penguin Teen collaboration.
The project began in April when the ABA contacted OOP seeking masks that were book-themed for store staff and readers. The opportunity to keep booksellers, and their customers, protected and safe, while prominently showing their connection to books, was exciting and motivating, said Todd Lawton, managing director and co-founder, with Jeff LeBlanc, of the company.
ABA CEO Allison Hill observed, "Out of Print has always been a great partner to the indies and a great example of blending social responsibility with business. ABA is excited about this launch and very grateful for Out of Print's support of Binc."
Since its founding in 2010 and continuing after its purchase by PRH in 2017, Out of Print has made social responsibility and giving back financially a core tenet of its business model and philosophy, the company said. Recently, for example, the company donated 100% of its profits from its sales on June 2--$50,000--to Black Lives Matter. It also collaborated again with author Mo Willems on a "Take Heart" Covid-19 Benefit T-shirt created from an illustration of his, with 100% of the profits donated to World Central Kitchen to support emergency workers and pandemic-stricken communities. Over the past decade, OOP has donated more than four million books to the underserved.
"We believe in the transformative power of books," Lawton said. "Our products enable readers to proudly show the world their love of reading and their connectivity to favorite authors, as they bring their work to the attention of a wider audience."