Mattel announced last week that it plans to launch a Mattel publishing imprint, the company’s own publishing platform centered on its extensive catalog of children’s and family entertainment franchises. Mattel’s imprint is expected to launch in 2024 in the US and Canada. It will complement content, support brand initiatives, and create new stories based on iconic Mattel franchises, including Barbie, Hot Wheels, Fisher-Price, Thomas & Friends, Monster High, Polly Pocket, Barney, and more.
Mattel’s publishing imprint’s releases will include print books, audio books, eBooks, as well as digital content on Caribu, Mattel’s direct-to-consumer entertainment platform with a video calling feature that allows users to read books, watch videos, draw, and play games or engage in an interactive video call with friends and loved ones. New American Girl Doll content has already launched on Caribu – digital versions of the illustrated character journals for the newest American Girl historical characters, twins Isabel and Nicki, set in 1999. [Note: 1999 is historical?! AS IF.]
Titles from Mattel’s imprint will complement programs from its best-in-class licensing partners with formats to include board books, storybooks, leveled readers, middle-grade titles, activity titles, guidebooks, and more.
In a press release, Mattel’s Chief Franchise officer and Global Head of Consumer Products commented:
“We have seen firsthand the immense value in providing fans of our franchises with multiple avenues to further engage with their favorite Mattel brands, characters, storylines and worlds. In launching our own publishing imprint, we simultaneously unlock limitless exploration for kids while continuing to realize the full value of our IP.”
Mattel has made publish a core part of its strategy and a key component of the company’s franchise flywheel ecosystem. American Girl, for example, encourages fans to delve into the backstories of their favorite characters through novels and journals by American Girl Publishing. With its new imprint, Mattel will expand this success across its catalog of globally beloved IP. Several American Girl titles have been penned by New York Times bestselling authors, including Varsha Bajaj (It’s Showtime, Kavi) and Brit Bennett (Meet Claudie). More than 160 million American Girl books have been sold to date.
Mattel’s sales and distribution partner will be announced at a later date.