— Tracy Edmunds (@TracyEdmunds) September 27, 2016
There’s been a lot of talk about Scholastic Book Fairs as a key market for kids graphic novels, but as The Beat does not have access to a child, this vital market remains known only through rumor and legend. We do know that Marvel has been selling in there with books like Squirrel Girl and Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur; Raina Telgemeier rules supreme; and even Dynamite has been selling Grumpy Cat there.
While the books are sold at a steep discount to youngsters with modest allowances, and publisher get less than they would through the Dm or bookstores, it’s the volume that makes up for it: sales in the hundreds of thousands are common.
The fairs are organized by Scholastic and held at schools around the country. There are three types, according to the website:
- Preschool Fairs – Fun, interactive, beautifully designed books every child will love; full of beginning concepts and memorable characters.
- Elementary School Fairs – A wide range of titles for every level and interest. Favorite series and authors will get kids excited about reading. We also offer a Fair type to suit the needs of a K–8 school.
- Middle School Fairs – Popular, age-appropriate titles to engage older readers. Relevant topics and current, relatable issues will attract even reluctant readers.
In the above tweet by educator Tracy Edmunds, finally we can see just what the fuss is about.Tracy was kind enough to provide larger versions of the photos. I’ve taken the liberty of drawing big red arrows because it is fun. That Grumpy Cat book is not the Dynamite version (I don’t think) but you get the idea.
Kids apparently like comics! And publishers are trying to get into this market, as recent announcements of kids line by just about everyone have revealed. It’s lucrative and helps build future readers. It’s also where kids get a taste for comics in a book format, as opposed to periodicals.
Has anyone else perused one of these secret comics spawning book fairs? Send photos and more evidence!
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.