In two major announcements for heritage brands at yesterday’s Bologna Children’s Book Fair it was revealed that Pippi Longstocking will appear in e-book for the first time and there will be a new title in Hachette’s Asterix stable.
Oxford University Press inked the first-ever deal with the Astrid Lindgren Estate to publish the three original Pippi Longstocking stories as digital books.
Children’s publisher Liz Cross, who signed the deal on behalf of OUP, said: “It’s really exciting. Pippi has been on our list for 60 years and this is the first time we are going to publish in e-format. It’s also Pippi’s 70th anniversary this year so the timing couldn’t have been better.”
The books will be published in “e” with the original illustrations by Ingrid Nyman, rather than using illustrations by Tony Ross or Lauren Child (both of whom have illustrated Pippi for editions from OUP in recent years). Publication is set for late 2015.
OUP will also publish a picture book version of the story, again with the original Nyman illustrations.
Lindgren wrote the first Pippi Longstocking book in the early 1940s. Her manuscript, after being rejected by Bonnier, was published by Rabén & Sjögren in 1945. The series has sold in more than 60 languages.
Meanwhile, at a press briefing yesterday (31st March), Hachette France revealed that the 36th book in the Asterix franchise will be published on 22nd October, entitled Asterix and the Missing Scroll.
Author Jean-Yves Ferri and illustrator Didier Conrad declined to reveal many details about the storyline but confirmed that Asterix, Obelix and the Romans would all appear, as well as a new “baddie” (un méchant).
The new Asterix is the second from Ferri and Conrad, who were first paired to work on Asterix and the Picts in 2013. Original illustrator Albert Uderzo worked with a series of writers after his co-creator René Goscinny died in 1977, eventually handing the duties over to other illustrators in 2009.
Speaking via video link from Paris, Uderzo praised the new title, saying that “at one point I and Goscinny thought Asterix wouldn’t stretch beyond 10 books, so to reach 36 is a real achievement”.