Sourcebooks and Penguin Random House North Asia have launched Callisto China, a new publishing house that will publish Chinese-language translations of Callisto titles in China. Sourcebooks—of which Penguin Random House is now a majority owner—acquired the assets of Callisto in May.
Callisto was founded in 2011, and was at one time one of the fastest growing independent publishing houses in the U.S. It focused on publishing nonfiction titles, using data and analytics to drive its direction and decision making. The company had several bestsellers, the most notable of which was My First Learn-to-Write Workbook, one for the biggest hits of the early pandemic in 2020. That book has sold more than 1.5 million copies, and the company claimed to have reached some 50 million customers overall. But the company’s sales fell dramatically in recent years, forcing layoffs and, eventually, the sale to Penguin Random House subsidiary Sourcebooks.
“This has been a transformative year for Sourcebooks worldwide—our international business has grown a remarkable 73% over last year, in large part due to market specific partnerships that allow for our publishing to benefit from best in class localized expertise,” said Shawn Abraham, v-p of international sales at Sourcebooks. “This collaborative publishing partnership with PRH North Asia for Callisto China is positioned to create a brand-new opportunity for both companies, as well as this amazing publishing program.”
Sourcebooks has garnered some of that international success through the boom in sales driven by TikTok, CEO Dominique Raccah told PW during the Frankfurt Book Fair in October. Young adult novels, which were popular on TikTok, but not yet translated into foreign languages sold especially well.
“As we forge our partnership, we tap into the vibrant pulse of China’s market, where the demand for children’s nonfiction and educational books is expanding rapidly,” said Azia Cheng, CEO of PRH North Asia. “This collaboration is more than a business interaction; it is a dedication to the growth and enlightenment of young minds. Our entry into this market with a robust catalogue of children's titles is a response to the increasing emphasis on holistic development—mental, physical, and emotional—in early education. We are eager to contribute significantly to this genre, providing young readers with the tools they need to thrive in an ever-changing world. We are equally committed to the adult segment, recognizing the growing interest in self-care and lifelong learning among Chinese adults.”