Computer software giant Brøderbund Software, Inc. developed a series of “Living Books” multimedia CD-ROMs for children in 1992. The success of this product line spurred the creation of another company within Brøderbund which would focus solely on story-based, interactive software for children. In 1994, Living Books was formed as a separate company owned by Brøderbund and Random House, Inc. Living Books then hired Jeff Schon, an executive with more than 20 years of experience in animation and entertainment production, as its CEO and President. Under Schon’s direction, Living Books acquired licensing rights to popular children’s book characters, including The Berenstain Bears, Little Critter, Arthur, Stellaluna, and the works of Dr. Seuss. Between 1994 and 1997, Living Books products won dozens of national awards and sold millions of units.
In January 1997, Random House sold its 50% interest in Living Books back to Brøderbund. The Learning Company then purchased Brøderbund in 1998 and immediately terminated more than 500 former Brøderbund employees. Mattel acquired The Learning Company a year later, and subsequent transactions effectively rendered the original Brøderbund defunct. Living Books ceased operations as a result of the 1998 takeover, but publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt purchased the rights to the Living Books titles and content.
In 2010, Wanderful, Inc. established Wanderful Interactive Storybooks based on the original Living Books products, with the approval of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. As of 2016, these interactive story apps are available on Apple, Android, and Amazon.