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Pubbery kidding the U.K.

Simon & Schuster opens Brit childrens unit

NEW YORK — Simon & Schuster is expanding its presence in the children’s book market in the United Kingdom.

Simon & Schuster’s U.S.-based children’s division and Pocket Books imprint announced Friday the launch of Simon & Schuster Children’s Division U.K.

The new division’s list will be anchored by media-driven tie-in books based on shows such as “Rugrats,” “Clueless,” “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” and “Star Trek.” The spring 1999 launch list will feature “Rugrats” movie books to coincide with the release of the pic in the U.K.

“As the world imports more and more American culture, the creation of Simon & Schuster Children’s Division U.K. affords synergy opportunity to expand (imprints), while at the same time making them more efficient,” said PocketBooks prexy Gina Centrello.

The new U.K. operation will also publish some “indigenous books” for the U.K. and Australian markets. S&S prexy and publisher for the U.S.-based children’s division, Rick Richter, said the idea is to bring “our mix of class children’s literature, popular paperbacks and cutting-edge licensed properties to the U.K. market.”

Martina Challis, formerly managing director at Random House’s U.K. children’s division, has been named publishing director for S&S Children’s Division U.K.