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

Virginia Woolf Calls D.H. Lawrence and James Joyce 'Overrated' in Newly Unearthed 1923 Survey

James Joyce
James Joyce
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Don’t feel too bad if you’ve ever struggled to get through James Joyce’s Ulysses or one of D.H. Lawrence’s long-winded books. Virginia Woolf and several other well-respected writers of the 20th century had a few choice words for Joyce and Lawrence, labeling them the "most overrated" English writers in a recently rediscovered 1923 survey.

As Smithsonian reports, these thoughts were recorded in a journal that was passed around British literary circles that included Woolf and nine other writers in the early 20th century. Within the “literary burn book,” as Vox dubbed it, writers recorded their answers to a 39-question survey about their thoughts on popular writers of the time, both living and dead. For example, they were asked to choose the greatest literary genius of all time, as well as the author most likely to be read in 25 years’ time. (In response to the latter question, author and poet Hilaire Belloc simply answered, “Me.”)

Titled Really and Truly: A Book of Literary Confessions, the book eventually ended up in novelist Margaret Kennedy’s possession. It was recently rediscovered by her grandson, William Mackesy, who, along with his cousin, is one of the literary executors of Kennedy's estate.

“Within were pages of printed questions with 10 sets of handwritten answers dated between 1923 and 1927,” Mackesy explained in The Independent. “Then the names came into focus and our eyes popped. Here were Rose Macaulay, Rebecca West, Hilaire Belloc, Stella Benson—and Virginia Woolf. And our granny.” It's unclear who originally wrote the survey.

In addition to taking jabs at Lawrence and Joyce, one unnamed respondent called T.S. Eliot the worst living English poet as well as the worst living literary critic. In response to a prompt to name the dead author whose character they most disliked, the participants name-dropped Samuel Johnson, Oscar Wilde, George Meredith, Marcel Proust, and Lord Byron. Woolf, for her part, answered, “I like all dead men of letters.” (If the respondents had known about the misdeeds of Charles Dickens, he may have ended up on the list, as well.)

“It is interesting how perceptions change, especially how little mention there is of now-most-celebrated writers from that era,” Mackesy notes. This little activity wasn’t entirely petty, though. Shakespeare, unsurprisingly, won the most votes for greatest literary genius. Homer, author of The Iliad and The Odyssey, received one vote.

[h/t Smithsonian]

Game of Thrones is Getting a New Tie-In Book Series for Season 8

Insight Editions
Insight Editions

For Game of Thrones fans who are fearing that they'll be left with nothing new to learn about the world of Westeros once the season 8 finale airs, we've got good news. As io9 reports, a new tie-in book series is coming to help you cope with your post-GOT blues.

The series will be a four-volume, behind-the-scenes look at the TV series, and will be released by Insight Editions. Each book will focus on a different aspect of making the show come to life.

First up is Game of Thrones: The Storyboards, by lead storyboard artist William Simpson, which will be released on May 28, 2019. It will be followed in the fall by The Art of Game of Thrones, The Photography of Game of Thrones, and Game of Thrones: The Costumes.

Game of Thrones: The Storyboards is available for preorder on Amazon now.

[h/t io9]

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