Random House Children’s Books will become the primary publisher for Nickelodeon, taking over all trade publishing formats from longtime Nickelodeon licensee Simon & Schuster as of January 1, 2013. The announcement was made on Monday at the Bologna Book Fair.
“We’ve been eagerly waiting for more than a decade to expand this property,” says Chris Angelilli, v-p and editor-in-chief, executive director of licensed products. “Dora and SpongeBob are just as popular as they’ve ever been. And a unified coloring/activity and storybook strategy will benefit Nickelodeon publishing.” In addition to the classic Dora and SpongeBob, Random House will focus initially on the newer Nick properties Team Umizoomi and Bubble Guppies.
“One of our strategies is to consolidate our businesses with fewer licensees,” explained Paula Allen, senior v-p, Nickelodeon global publishing. “We really wanted to consolidate our publishing under one partner.” Noting that Simon & Schuster had gotten out of the coloring and activity business when it shut down its Simon Scribbles imprint, she added, “Simon & Schuster has been a great partner. I can’t say enough good about them.”
Random House has been publishing Nickelodeon coloring and activity titles since 2000 and Little Golden Books since 2009. The expansion will add hardcover and paperback picture books, storybooks, leveled readers, chapter books, junior novels, and board books. “We’re in the midst of carefully crafting our strategy,” said Angelilli. “We’re meeting with the accounts to see what they need for the transition.”
Starting later this year, Random House also will publish books tied to the new CG-animated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series—it was the original publisher in the 1980s—which will launch on Nickelodeon in the fall.
“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is primed to be the next big property for boys,” Angelilli said. “We’re delighted to have the Turtles back in the house.” Initial formats will include a leveled reader, two-in-one chapter books—two stories in two books, each in the point of view of a different Turtle—a giant activity book, an 8x8, a coloring book with tattoos, and a full-color fan book with bios, stickers, and trivia.
Also in the fall, Random will publish chapter books and a fan book tied to Winx Club, an Italian-origin fantasy-adventure series for girls. Nickelodeon began airing the series in 2011.