DreamWorks Animation Launches Children’s Publishing Unit

DreamWorks Animation has announced the launch of DreamWorks Press, an in-house publishing operation that will produce digital and print books based on their popular properties like Kung Fu Panda, Madagascar, and Shrek, as well as upcoming films like B.O.O.: Bureau of Otherworldly Operations. The new division will also create titles based on DreamWorks’ AwesomenessTV and Classic Media portfolios. Classic Media, which includes Waldo, Gumby, Casper the Friendly Ghost, Lassie, and Rocky & Bullwinkle, could be a particularly rich source of child-friendly material.

The division will be headed by Emma Whittard, a children’s publishing veteran who spent eight years at Disney, and “supported by” DreamWorks Animation’s head of franchise, Shawn Dennis who previously oversaw publishing for the American Girl franchise.

Prior to DreamWorks Press, DreamWorks licensed publication rights to other publishers. This new unit will align them closer with Disney, which oversees publishing projects through an in-house division. “Owning and developing this [publishing] capability in-house will give us an unprecedented platform to expand the worlds of our most beloved characters as well as introduce families to new characters from within our library,” Dennis explained in a press release.

The Perseus Books Group will handle sales and distribution through its Publishers Group West unit, with the first of the DreamWorks Press titles hitting bookshelves in time for the 2014 holiday season.