Out of Print (OOP), the Penguin Random House company that creates licensed book-centric apparel and accessory items, together with the American Booksellers Association is launching a line of literary face masks. Made of polyester and cotton and retailing for $12 each, the masks are on sale now from outofprint.com. The week of July 6, masks will be available at bookstores nationwide.
The seven mask styles, a mix of licensed book art and original designs, which were available for pre-order in late June, sold more than 13,000 in the first week.
With this demand, the Out of Print Literary Masks has become the biggest new-product launch in the company’s 10-year history, according to Todd Lawton, managing director and co-founder of the company with Jeff LeBlanc.
The three most popular mask selections to date have been “The Pigeon,” based on art from the Mo Willems book, and “Bookshelf” and “Banned Books,” both OOP original designs. Others in the series are “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” inspired by the Douglas Adams novel; “Book Nerd,” an OOP + Underlined collaboration; “Curl Up with a Book,” an OOP original design; and “Books, Books, Books,” an OOP + Penguin Teen collaboration.
The project began in April when ABA contacted OOP seeking masks that were book-themed for store staff and readers. A portion of each sale is being donated to the Book Industry Charitable Foundation (Binc) to assist bookstores impacted by COVID-19.
“Out of Print has always been a great partner to the indies and a great example of blending social responsibility with business,” said ABA CEO Allison K. Hill. “ABA is excited about this launch and very grateful for Out of Print’s support of Binc.”
Since its beginnings in 2010 as an independent company, and continuing after its purchase by Penguin Random House in 2017, Out of Print has made social responsibility and giving back financially a core tenet of its business model and philosophy. As recent examples, the company donated 100 percent of its profits from its sales on June 2 — $50,000 — to Black Lives Matter. Out of Print also collaborated with author Mo Willems on a “Take Heart” COVID-19 benefit T-shirt created from an original illustration of his, with 100 percent of the profits donated to World Central Kitchen to support emergency workers and pandemic-stricken communities. Over the past decade, OOP has donated more than four million books to the underserved.
“We believe in the transformative power of books,” said Lawton. “Our products enable readers to proudly show the world their love of reading and their connectivity to favorite authors, as they bring their work to the attention of a wider audience.”
Booksellers can place orders by contacting their Out of Print sales rep or emailing email@example.com.