Universal Studios’ majority-owned arthouse unit October Films is in talks to launch a book imprint that would be distributed worldwide by Penguin Books, sources said Wednesday.

October will be following in the footsteps of Miramax Films, whose three-year-old book imprint is distributed by Hyperion, a unit of Miramax’s corporate parent the Walt Disney Co.

Getting into the book business has been a pet project of Scott Greenstein, who joined October as co-president in August after ankling Miramax, where he was senior VP of motion pictures, publishing, music and new media.

Launching a book division will allow October to sell screenplays and novelizations based on its upcoming specialized films, including such titles as “The Apostle,” Robert Duvall’s self-produced tale of a Southern preacher seeking redemption, and Tony Bui’s “Three Seasons,” the first American film to lens in Vietnam since the end of the war.

Entering publishing will also help the Gotham-based distributor of independent films build brand awareness, which has been a strength of both Miramax and Disney. As part of its strategy to diversify its business, October is expected to launch a music division and a genre label.

Execs at October and Penguin could not be reached for comment.

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