Out of Print: Indulge Your Love of Books at This Literary-Themed Online Store

Out of Print
Out of Print

Attention book lovers: Do you want to wear your love of Harry Potter or The Great Gatsby on your sleeve? A company called Out of Print sells T-shirts, socks, tote bags, pins, and other merchandise inspired by more than 100 of your favorite literary titles, from To Kill a Mockingbird to Pride and Prejudice.

The New York City-based company has attracted a loyal fan base since it launched in 2010 and has sold its products in Urban Outfitters, Barnes & Noble, Hot Topic, and Torrent stores, as well as being carried at approximately 600 independent bookstores in the U.S. and Canada. (And on Amazon, of course.) Harry Potter tees and socks are reliable best-sellers, as are Out of Print's library-inspired products, like this mug designed to look like a library card.

A mug designed to look like a library card
Out of Print

A shirt with a Hermione Granger quote on it
Out of Print

When shopping online, customers can narrow their search field by title or author, and if they don’t see their favorite book represented, they can email the company a suggestion. Staff regularly update a spreadsheet with all the suggestions that come in, but licensing restrictions limit what they can do. About 85 to 90 percent of the designs that appear on tees and other products are licensed art, while the rest are original designs, according to Out of Print co-founder Todd Lawton.

When staff design a T-shirt in-house, for example, Lawton says they ask themselves, “How can we create this authentic connection to the reading experience and nostalgia for books or libraries, or things that are important to readers?” One of the original designs they came up with is a sloth holding a book next to the text “let’s hang and read.” It’s adorable, but there’s a symbolic message there, too. “The idea behind that was, well, animals are already cute and funny, but let’s make a statement that it’s OK to be a slow reader, and it’s OK to enjoy a book,” Lawton tells Mental Floss.

There’s also a charitable component to the company, so you don’t have to feel totally guilty about shelling out $100 on Everyone Poops shirts for the whole family. For every item purchased, Out of Print donates a book to the nonprofit group Books For Africa. To date, they’ve donated more than 3 million books.

In celebration of the brand’s ninth anniversary, Out of Print is currently offering a 30 percent discount on products until Sunday. In the future, customers can expect to see a new line of Harry Potter socks, more heat-reactive mugs, and Sesame Street merchandise for the iconic kids' show’s 50th anniversary this year.

Check out a few of Out of Print's items below, and head to the company's website for more.

A Sherlock Holmes shirt
Out of Print

Fahrenheit 451 socks
Out of Print

A Little Golden Books shirt
Out of Print

A Where the Wild Things Are shirt
Out of Print

A Clockwork Orange tote
A Clockwork Orange tote
Out of Print

A Matilda sweatshirt
Out of Print

A Romeo and Juliet tee
A Romeo and Juliet tee
Out of Print

A ‘Book Ripper’ in Herne Bay, England Is Ripping Book Pages, Then Putting Them Back on Shelves

demaerre/iStock via Getty Images
demaerre/iStock via Getty Images

Herne Bay, a town about 60 miles east of London, has fallen prey to a new kind of ripper. According to The Guardian, a criminal known as the “Book Ripper” has torn pages within about 100 books in a charity bookstore before placing them back on shelves.

“I’m trying not to be too Sherlock Holmes about it,” Ryan Campbell, chief executive of the charity Demelza, told The Guardian, “but if there’s such a thing as a quite distinctive rip, well, he or she rips the page in half horizontally and sometimes removes half the page.”

Though it’s not the most efficient way to ruin a reading experience, since the pages themselves are still legible as long as they’re left in the book, it’s still devastating to a shop that relies on the generosity of others to serve the underprivileged.

“Of course people donate these books towards the care of children with terminal illness so it’s almost like taking the collection box,” Campbell said.

Since the occasional torn page in a secondhand bookshop isn’t uncommon, booksellers didn’t immediately realize the scope of the issue, but they believe it's been happening for a few months. The Book Ripper targets bookshelves that can’t be seen from the register, and has a favorite genre to vandalize: true crime.

The local library has also reported the same pattern of damage in some of their volumes, and police are now monitoring the situation in both places.

Townspeople are monitoring the situation, too, patrolling bookstores and libraries hoping to apprehend the culprit.

“I’m a little worried about the person,” Campbell said. “It makes you think a little bit about who’s doing this and why they feel the need to do it and what’s going on in their lives.”

[h/t The Guardian]

George R.R. Martin Says Game of Thrones Backlash Won't Influence His Books

Amy Sussman, Getty Images
Amy Sussman, Getty Images

Apparently, no one is immune to fans' negative reaction to Game of Thrones's final season—not even A Song of Ice and Fire author George R.R. Martin. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Martin spoke about the overwhelming power of the internet, and how easily it can influence a writer's process. The author said:

"The internet affects [writing] to a degree it was never affected before. Like Jon Snow’s parentage. There were early hints about [who Snow’s parents were] in the books, but only one reader in 100 put it together. And before the internet that was fine—for 99 readers out of 100 when Jon Snow’s parentage gets revealed it would be, ‘Oh, that’s a great twist!’ But in the age of the internet, even if only one person in 100 figures it out then that one person posts it online and the other 99 people read it and go, ‘Oh, that makes sense.’ Suddenly the twist you’re building towards is out there. And there is a temptation to then change it [in the upcoming books]—‘Oh my god, it’s screwed up, I have to come up with something different.’ But that’s wrong. Because you’ve been planning for a certain ending and if you suddenly change direction just because somebody figured it out, or because they don’t like it, then it screws up the whole structure."

Because the temptation can be there, Martin said that he doesn't go digging for fan reactions or theories. "I don’t read the fan sites," he said. "I want to write the book I’ve always intended to write all along. And when it comes out they can like it or they can not like it." For Martin, the same holds true for the way people felt about Game of Thrones as well. While Martin has watched the final season, he isn’t letting any of the events of the series change the way he has always planned to conclude his book series.

"The whole last three years have been strange since the show got ahead of the books,” Martin said. “Yes, I told [showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss] a number of things years ago. And some of them they did do. But at the same time, it’s different. I have very fixed ideas in my head as I’m writing The Winds of Winter and beyond that in terms of where things are going. It’s like two alternate realities existing side by side. I have to double down and do my version of it which is what I’ve been doing.”

While fans are getting restless for the final books, Martin is teaching his readers an important lesson in patience—one that many people believe HBO’s showrunners could have benefited from: art cannot be rushed. Let’s hope people are happier with Martin's conclusion than they were with the TV show’s.

[h/t Entertainment Weekly]

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