Trade Perspectives: Libraries, bookstores vie for trade selection

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

A faithful reader tipped me off to this article by John Shableski about graphic novels in libraries and bookstores. Shableski points to libraries, above bookstore and even comic book stores, where readers are likely to find the best representation of graphic novels. He also points to a growth in online sales as online stores post a better selection of trades than bookstores, though this is likely to change as bookstores get the message. Shableski writes:
What is it worth? According to Milton Griepp of, a website that follows the comics and pop culture industry, graphic novels sales have exploded from $43 million in 2001 to $330 million in 2006. That figure doesn't include merchandising or movie ticket sales.

... So, you ask: if graphic novels are such a big deal then why aren't the big boxes doing more? Because they really don't understand it. It is amazing to see so little space devoted to a global phenomenon. You would think that a product which has experience 40% annual growth since the beginning of the decade should get some one's attention. Maybe when JK Rowling allows Harry Potter to be done as a graphic novel you will see a reaction. Until then libraries will reap the benefits as the primary source of exposure for graphic novels.
The conclusions here surprise me, but only slightly. Have you all had better luck in bookstores or libraries? There are times I've had great luck finding trades in libraries, and times I've had no luck at all, and ditto for bookstores; most of the time, I've found best results near big cities.

Regardless, it's nice to see "the graphic novel craze" getting some press.
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  1. My local library carries almost no graphic novels. As for bookstores, the only thing I use them for is to browse for books to buy online. :) In-Stock Trades and DCBS are the only places I buy my graphic novels.

  2. I may have read over 50 graphic novels at my university library and I've barely scratched the surface. My wallet is pleased.

  3. The local library in this small town has a small gn collection but at least they have one. I agree it is strange to not see them in Wal-Mart's book department though as messed up as those books get because of careless and rude customers (and their children) I can be glad to some degree that they aren't.