Scholastic Buys Back to Basics Toys from

Children’s book and magazine publisher Scholastic announced this week that it bought $15 million cataloger Back to Basics Toys from last month. New York-based Scholastic paid $4.75 million for the toys catalog. Scholastic’s Direct to Home division, which markets continuity programs to 5 million households, will oversee the title.

Back to Basics continues to be run by the Ridgely, MD-based staff that produced the catalog under Amazon. The first edition under Scholastic mails next week. “We intend to effectively promote this catalog to our database, and vice versa,” says Scholastic senior vice president of finance Ray Marchuk. Although Back to Basics is Scholastic’s only traditional catalog business, the company has no plans to turn it into a continuity program, nor does it plan to turn any of its continuity programs into catalog operations.

Marchuk says the Back to Basics deal shouldn’t be seen as the first in a flurry of catalog acquisitions. “We look at these things that have a strategic fit, and where Scholastic can add value and vice versa,” he says. “Back to Basics Toys fits in with our direct-t0-home businesses, though this isn’t the signal of a strategic shift of direction into the catalog business for us by any means.”