I’ve heard separately from several people in the book world that Barnes & Noble has confirmed that they will be adding a standalone kids graphic novel section to their stores in the near future.
Graphic novels have long had their own section, but the comics sections of B&N’s got much bigger in the Aughts. But kids comics have traditionally been shelved along with regular children’s books, making them harder to find for kids who are specifically looking for them. Publishers have been pushing for a kids GN section in B&N for years but I’m told there was internal resistance for a long time.
The recent explosive growth in the sales of kids graphic novels has made the new section a much more viable idea. You can see the numbers for yourself in our annual Bookscan report. Books-a-Million, the other book chain left in the US, also has a separate section for kids GNs.
The B&N section will only include middle grade GN for now – firmly in the Raina Telgemeier/Dav Pilkey sweet spot. However, a YA graphic novel section is also being considered.
This is potentially huge news. Kids GNs have been one of the fastest growing segments in publishing for a while now, and getting this kind of visibility will only help readers find more books. Also, remember when I told you that kids GNs getting more BISAC codes was a big deal? This is part of that as well.
The next time someone tells you comics are dying, please send them a link to this story.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.