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Thursday, June 07, 2007

Book Expo America report

Just got back from BEA in New York City and I thought I'd drop a brief report now that I've had time to mull over the proceedings. This is the third year in a row that D&Q has attended as part of the Farrar, Straus, and Giroux booth and this may be the first year that something significant occurred--namely not a single librarian or bookseller came up to me and told me how little they care for graphic novels. I'm not sure if this a sign that they're admitting defeat to a "sub-literate artform" or if they're actually realizing that there's a place for comics in their organizations. I can only guess why this is. Perhaps there are better educated buyers who know how to stock a shelf based on what the clientele will actually want, or perhaps the high-profile successes of OGNs and anthologies have made them realize that there's something more going on than franchise-placeholders and tween-baiting. I rode on an airport shuttle with a 50-year-old librarian from Wichita who was well-versed in Lost Girls for crackin' ice! Another striking thing was very few people mentioned teen-oriented manga or superheroes while talking to me about graphic novels. It was almost as if they were able to make the distinction in genres, kind of like how the FSG rep selling the new Denis Johnson book doesn't have to talk about Nancy Drew or cookbooks, I'm guessing. Some folks still think it's all about manga and there's no place for the experimental or literary but more and more folks are realizing that there just may be something there for the people who like to read comics that are similar to the books they read. Hurray for you and me.

Top photo: Dan Nadel and Eric Reynolds pore over a map trying to figure out how to get to Lavender Diamond so that Eric Reynolds can experience the greatest love of all.

Bottom photo: Chris in our booth talking to Eric Lorberer from Rain Taxi.

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