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by Lynn Rosen, IBPA Independent contributing editor

Lynn Rosen

Running Press is one of a number of presses that excel in the book-plus format. (Others include Chronicle Books, Andrews McMeel, Workman Publishing Company, and Peter Pauper Press.) Running Press mini-kits pair a small book with non-book items, all creatively and efficiently packaged. You’ll often see them on spinner racks in the front of bookstores. We spoke to Jennifer Leczkowski, director of mini-editions at Running Press, about what works well for them and what new projects she has coming up.

BookPluSidebar_DoctorWhoWe like to do a balance of licensed and home-grown kits on each Miniature Editions list. The Doctor Who and Game of Thrones kits are recent tv tie-in kits that are part of two very successful series for us. We’ve learned there is a rabid fan base of collectors for both franchises, who consider our mini replicas and figurines must-have items. We try to create unique product from other merchandise that is out there (besides just being mini) with special effects like sound and light-up features, like we did with the Doctor Who Light-Up Weeping Angel.

We are really excited about the Art Therapy Coloring Kit, which publishes next month—we crashed this on the list based on the wildly popular adult coloring trend. For this home-grown kit, we created a new card format with a magnetic closure box that includes 50 cards with detailed designs to complete and 10 colored pencils so you can get some art therapy anytime, anywhere, with this portable kit. We licensed the beautiful art from a packager who created our own best-selling adult coloring books so it retains the same series look.

BookPlusSidebar_SugarSkullPaint Your Own Sugar Skull is another good example of a trend-driven home-grown kit we created in-house based on the current popularity of sugar skulls. We also like to do kits that work for holiday promotions (Halloween) but can also sell year-round. This kit has done well in a lot of gift accounts, and we’ve already sold out of our first printing. To further capitalize on the sugar skull and adult coloring trends, we are publishing a sugar skull themed adult coloring kit in fall 2016.

Marlo Scrimizzi, Running Press Kids’ associate editor, says:

Jingle Bells, illustrated by Jill Howarth, is a book-plus title we developed in-house. It’s an illustrated novelty book of the classic Christmas carol, and actual jingle bells are attached to the book. We were inspired by a vintage book from the 1940s that had bells like this, but it hadn’t been done since. We all remember pulling out our grandparents’ sleigh bells when we were kids and singing “Jingle Bells” around the house, so this book carries that tradition.”

Lynn Rosen is a book publishing industry professional with many years of experience as an editor and literary agent. She is co-owner of the indie Open Book Bookstore in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania. She was previously editorial director of Book Business magazine and director of Graduate Publishing Programs at Rosemont College. She is the author of ELEMENTS OF THE TABLE: A SIMPLE GUIDE FOR HOSTS AND GUESTS.

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