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.
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.