Heartening news from The Bookseller that Borders has seen an 800% increase in sales of graphic novels since introducing a dedicated section for them in their stores in March.
When they launched this initiative, Borders' children's buyer, J P Hunting, said: "Previously children's graphic novels got put into the children's section so titles got a bit lost. With a dedicated section, it will be easier for customers to find these titles." Darn tootin'!
However, balance Mr Hunting's very sensible remark with this from Claudia Mody, who is children's fiction buyer at Waterstone's: "There's some interesting publishing in this area coming up. It's a clever way of tempting new and reluctant readers." Yeah, there's the problem right there. Too many people in the UK think that comics are just an easy-in for "proper" reading.
Graphic novel sales in the UK grew 21% last year, despite scarcity of product, poor distribution and patchy display in bookshops, so it's to Borders' credit that they were bold enough to take a leap of faith.
Now we just have to hope that publishers will follow suit. But they need to take a look at what is selling. Borders say that their best sales are being achieved with the Alex Rider graphic novels, Clone Wars, etc - ie story-driven comics for 11+ years. It augurs well for works such as Garen Ewing's brilliant The Rainbow Orchid, the first volume of which is scheduled for publication in August. (Order it now - we have.)
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