Meredith Books continued its push into the children's book market last week, reaching an agreement with Marvel Enterprises to publish a range of titles featuring Marvel characters. Under the multiyear agreement, Meredith will publish sound storybooks, coloring books, picture books and book-plus product. The deal gives Meredith the rights to such classic characters as Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, the Incredible Hulk and the X-Men, and also gives the company the rights to publish tie-in titles to five movies based on Marvel works, said Todd Davis, executive director of new business development for Meredith.

Davis said the first 10 titles under the new agreement will be released in January and will feature Marvel's best known characters. Another 10 titles based on classic characters will be released next fall, and Meredith plans to publish about 10 books based on the Fantastic Four movie that will be released next year.

The new deal extends an existing agreement between the two companies. Meredith published tie-ins to Spider-Man 2 this summer. Doug Guendel, v-p and general manager of the book division, said the new Marvel deal, as well as agreements with other companies, reflects the company's strategy of "placing more focus on acquiring licensed product."