This September, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers will launch LB Kids, a new imprint aimed at traditional bookstores as well as the mass merchandise and specialty market channels. LB Kids will focus on competitively priced interactive and licensed novelty books, including a line of interactive books licensed from the board-game maker Cranium.
In addition to The Cranium Big Book of Outrageous Fun, the launch list will include five titles—8x8 story books with sticker sheets, reusable sticker books and a "hyper-active" novelty format—based on Discovery Kids'Toddworld (inspired by the books of Little, Brown author Todd Parr), and a new version of Ed Emberley's Go Away, Big Green Monster! In fall 2006, LB Kids will introduce a line of art-related titles, including book-and-art supply packages, under license from the high-end arts and crafts brand Alex Toys.
LB Kids is being headed by the trio of LBBYR's publisher David Ford, associate publishers Megan Tingley and Bill Boedeker. Executive editor Liza Baker is developing novelty and tie-in titles, but other editors are doing books for the imprint as well.
The Cranium Big Book of Outrageous Fun is a 10x10 activity book/game hybrid; like the Cranium games, the book's activities exercise four areas of the brain, each identified with its own character: Creative Cat for art, Word Worm for language, Data Head for facts and figures and Star Performer for physical pursuits such as acting and scavenger hunts. The title, for ages seven and up, will retail for $9.99 and have an initial press run of 150,000 copies.
The partners plan to release eight more titles in 2006 and additional books beyond that. Formats will include 20 leveled activity books—which Little, Brown refers to as "whole-brain portfolios"— as well as other formats for toddlers to adults/ families.
Outrageous Fun will be included in the Cranium product catalogue inserted in each game box—and in the books—and the two companies' sales teams will visit accounts jointly. Cranium cofounder Richard Tait noted that word of mouth from "Craniacs" drove game sales initially, with more than one million units sold the first year without advertising. He hopes that kind of buzz will occur with the books as well. Since launching in 1998 with distribution in Starbucks, Amazon.com and B&N, Cranium has expanded its line to 12 games, sold in all channels.