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

The Origins Behind 30 Harry Potter Words and Spells

Mental Floss via YouTube
Mental Floss via YouTube

Muggle. Horcrux. Erised. Wingardium leviosa. To the outside world (or those aforementioned Muggles), Harry Potter fans seem to speak a language unto themselves. But in coming up with the unique words, phrases, and spells that define the Potterverse, J.K. Rowling often looked to the past—and to other languages—for her etymological cues.

In this edition of The List Show, Mental Floss editor-in-chief Erin McCarthy is conjuring up the meaning behind dozens of words and spells from Harry Potter’s world.

For more episodes like this one, be sure to subscribe here.

Annotations in Copy of Shakespeare's First Folio May Have Been John Milton's

GeorgiosArt/iStock via Getty Images
GeorgiosArt/iStock via Getty Images

It's a well-known literary fact that William Shakespeare had an enormous influence on "Paradise Lost" poet John Milton, and new evidence suggests that super fan Milton—who even wrote a poem called "On Shakespeare"—might have owned his idol's first folio.

The folio, which contains 36 of Shakespeare’s plays, was published in 1623—seven years after the Bard’s death. An estimated 750 first folios were printed, with only 233 of them known to have survived, including one with annotations written throughout it. As it turns out, those scribbles might be Milton's.

According to The Guardian, Cambridge University fellow Jason Scott-Warren believes that Milton wrote those important annotations. Scott-Warren read an article about an anonymous annotator written by Pennsylvania State University English professor Claire Bourne. The Folio copy in question has been stored in the Free Library of Philadelphia since 1944, and Bourne was able to date the annotator back to the mid-1600s. (Milton died in 1674.) It was Scott-Warren who noticed that the handwritten notes looked similar to Milton’s handwriting.

"It shows you the firsthand encounter between two great writers, which you don’t often get to see, especially in this period,” Scott-Warren told The Guardian. “A lot of that kind of evidence is lost, so that’s really exciting.”

If the writing does indeed belong to Milton, it’s not the first time the poet has left notes on another writer's work; he supposedly marked up his copy of Giovanni Boccaccio’s Life of Dante as well. Scott-Warren and Bourne plan to pair up to find out if Milton left annotations on any other notable works.

"It was, until a few days ago, simply too much to hope that Milton’s own copy of Shakespeare might have survived—and yet the evidence here so far is persuasive,” Dr. Will Poole, a fellow and tutor at Oxford's New College said. "This may be one of the most important literary discoveries of modern times."

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