Penguin Children’s Is Turning Plants vs. Zombies Into Books, E-Books

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Following last’s year expansion into merchandise including toys, underwear (!), and more, EA’s PopCap is now taking its popular “Plants vs. Zombies” title to the printed (and e-inked) page. Penguin Children’s has acquired the physical and e-book publishing rights to the game, in a three-year deal.

The first books – Plants vs. Zombies Official Guide, The Official Sticker Book, and the Plants vs. Zombies Joke book, will be published this summer, in August 2013.

Plants vs. Zombies has been downloaded over 120 million times since its release in 2009. It made a big comeback in March after the company made the paid title free, ahead of the release of a sequel due out later this year. As TechCrunch noted at the time, many game developers behind older, but still popular titles, on iOS are making their original games free, most notably Rovio, which also made the original version of Angry Birds free that same month.

Last summer’s announcement of game-related merchandise from PopCap was the first brand licensing partnerships to emerge in the company’s 12-year history, it said at the time. PopCap noted then that the first games it would focus on licensing were Plants vs. Zombies and Bejeweled. And sure enough, in January, PopCap announced that Bejeweled would cross over into the real world, as physical games sold through an agreement with Hasbro.

Penguin’s Children Group, which includes brands like Puffin, Ladybird, and BBC Children’s Books, has previously done deals with other digital titles including Angry Birds, Moshi Monsters, and Skylanders, for both game and interactive tie-ins.

According to this report of Penguin’s done deals ahead the London Book Fair, the Plants vs. Zombies acquisition (by Puffin) includes “world rights” excluding North America and Asia. That’s not exactly world rights, though. We’ve reached out to the publisher to clarify, given that the way it’s touting the news omits this key detail.

Update: Penguin has confirmed to us that the worldwide rights do not include North America or Asia. Shouldn’t there be some rules about using the word “worldwide?”