HarperCollins Children’s Books has secured the global rights from the Lumistella Company to publish 11 books tied to the Elf on the Shelf universe over the next five years, starting with three titles in September 2023. HC's William Morrow Cookbooks imprint will publish a cookbook based on the property in fall 2024. Creative Artists Agency negotiated the deal on behalf of the Lumistella Company.
“We went into this based on the strength of the brand, the appeal of the elf character, and the tradition that goes around it,” said Rich Thomas, v-p and director, publishing, at HarperCollins Children’s Books. “When Lumistella explained their plans to make it clear that the elf is part of a much greater universe of characters based in the North Pole, that intrigued us and was really energizing.” The Elf on the Shelf universe contains the characters and stories that exist year-round at the North Pole, as well its 1,000 years of history. “There’s so much potential there,” Thomas added.
The initial list will include an I Can Read title, The Elf on the Shelf: Meet the Scout Elves, which introduces young readers to the existing characters and their world; The Elf on the Shelf: Stocking Stuffer Sticker Book, with 24 pages of games and activities and 24 pages of stickers; and The Elf on the Shelf: Night Before Christmas, an adaptation of the classic story. “It’s a reimagination of the story with an Elfin twist,” Thomas said.
The plan is to release two to three books each holiday season. Future lists will encompass formats ranging from picture books to illustrated novels and will include an origin story developed by Chanda A. Bell, co-founder and co-CEO of the Lumistella Company and author of The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition, the book that started it all. The sweet spot for the publishing program is children ages three to 10, but Thomas believes there will be a crossover audience among parents, who knew the property when they were children, and their parents who are now grandparents. “It really is for everybody,” he said.
“Our partnership with HarperCollins is a testament to our unwavering commitment to tell the stories of Santa’s North Pole in innovative and fresh ways," Bell said in a statement.
Lumistella was founded in 2005, based on a concept created by Bell and her daughter. Since then, more than 19.5 million Elf on the Shelf dolls have been sold, and the original book, The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition, was ranked by PW as one of the top-selling books of the last 25 years. The brand has also expanded into sub-brands including Elf Pets and Elf Mates, consumer products, and original entertainment and brand experiences.