By Chris Penttila
A WALK THROUGH the midtown Manhattan office of Modern Publishing is a walk
down memory lane. The walls are covered
with pictures of Rambo, Richie Rich, Warner
Bros. characters, the Dukes of Hazzard and
other pop-culture icons.
“You see all the old covers and it’s funny,
because everything comes back,” says company president Andrew Steinberg.
Modern Publishing is a privately owned
children’s book publisher that, among other
things, specializes in coloring and activity
books, picture storybooks, puzzle and crossword collections, educational workbooks and
board books. The company’s 2008 sales
booked more than $20 million.
Kids’ coloring books were the company’s
main product line when Steinberg’s dad,
Lawrence, started the company 40 years ago.
One of Modern’s first licenses was from
Flintstones creator Hanna-Barbera; later addi-
tions included the Care Bears, Cabbage Patch
Kids and Hasbro. Today the company’s licens-
ing portfolio includes Fisher-Price, the BBC’s Planet Earth, Lisa Frank, Sanrio’s Hello Kitty, the Smurfs and Disney. Andrew Steinberg worked summers at
Modern Publishing when he was a kid, stuff-
ing envelopes and running errands. “I’ve been
around this my whole life,” he says. Before
joining the family business nearly six years
ago, he was a Hollywood agent who worked
makes it big
A variety of educational, coloring and activity
books from Modern Publishing are available
in most Costco warehouses.
rights. More recently, Steinberg and his team
tracked the relaunch of The Electric Company
on PBS. Intrigued, Modern Publishing contacted the Children’s Television Workshop,
which asked for a creative pitch that included
book ideas, a marketing strategy for the brand
and an overview of Modern’s sales channel. A
licensing deal was struck. It’s been quite a
journey from the mailroom to the corner
office, but, laughs Steinberg, “It’s good to be
the president.” C
Chris Penttila is a freelance journalist.
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Books may not be available in all locations or on Costco.com. Covers subject to change.
AUGUST 2010 ;e Costco Connection 47