Question Tuesday: How do YOU keep up with demand?
How can I find out about new juvenile graphic novels and upcoming titles? How can I keep up with juvenile series (gn)? – C. A., from Virginia
There are a few different tacks to take when it comes to keeping track of upcoming titles.
There are, of course, the usual sources: Library Journal, School Library Journal, Library Media Connection, VOYA, Publisher’s Weekly. All of these journals maintain excellent reviews, but they do have trouble keeping up with the stream of titles that are coming out every month.
The easiest is series. Set up standing orders through a vendor like Baker and Taylor, BWI, or Ingram. This will depend upon your library’s ability to commit a chunk of change every year to that specific purpose, and may require you to keep track of when series begin and end. I always used to get caught without the latest addition to a series simply because it got too overwhelming to try to anticipate each order in time to get the latest volumes, but now that I have standing orders for my popular series, I’m set. The readers get the books they want promptly and I’m no longer scrambling to keep up. I only need to check in around once a year to make sure the standing orders are barreling along as expected and to swap out finished series with newer titles that have developed a demand among my readers.
As for anticipating the newest series or the next big stand-alone read, that can be harder. You can check out publisher websites as they frequently keep up a list of upcoming books. Top Shelf, as a comics publisher, releases a wide range of stories for everyone from kids to much more mature material intended exclusively for adults. A casual browse through the site may end up startling a browsing children’s librarian. However, you can always visit Top Shelf’s Kids Club, which lists all of their titles for the younger crowd, and then head over to their full publishing schedule and scroll down to see their future releases for all ages. Yen Press is another publisher that’s particularly good at keep readers posted on what they have in the works, as well as having a handy list of titles by age rating, which can only help those seeking out titles for younger readers.
Frustratingly enough, the book publishers are less great at letting us know what’s upcoming — all their current titles are on display, but it’s far harder to locate what is to come. Abrahms, home of the Amulet imprint that’s publishes popular titles like Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Page by Paige, does let you see only their latest titles. Scholastic Graphix, home of Smile, Bone, and Doug TenNapel’s Ghostopolis and Bad Island, is quite a lovely site but hard to navigate for list-making purposes.
In this case, I turn to my vendors. Almost all of the library vendors publish forthcoming recommended title lists. I use Baker and Taylor at my library, and they have Paw Prints: Graphic Novels, from Beginning to Middle Readers that includes over 250 new titles to watch for young readers. Ingram similarly provides substantial lists of graphic novels by age range including lower elementary, upper elementary, and middle school appropriate titles. BWI’s Title Tales collection development lists, open to all public librarians, are varied and useful for all kinds of topical lists.
One comics industry tool is Diamond Comics Previews: this print magazine can feel overwhelming to a beginner but is useful to a librarian who’s more comfortable with the details of Batman, Spider-Man, and the Star Wars comics. This substantial newsprint monthly, available at all local comics shops, lists the majority of mainstream comics coming out in the next month. This guide is mostly used by comic book store owners to place their orders for upcoming comic book issues and graphic novels as well as action figures, specialty products, and backlist titles. Previews can be intimidating, no doubt. Crammed full of details, organized by publisher, it’s hard to parse what you’d best pay attention to among ads, previews, and listings. However, if you’re looking for news on upcoming titles from the biggest publishers including DC, Marvel, Image, Dark Horse and IDW, this is one of the best resources to flip through and mark up. Think of it as another publisher catalog to flip through.
Of course, the easiest way to keep track, but more time-consuming, is to haunt blogs and websites (like this one, of course!) that update frequently with news of the comics medium in the book and comic world. We here at Good Comics for Kids obviously focus on titles for younger readers, from the youngest up through teens. Graphic Novel Reporter’s Coming Soon is a no-frills but definitely useful list. News sites like The Beat, including many features highlighting kids comics, help keep every librarian in the know as long as you can keep up.
So now, I turn it over to you, fair readers. What resources do you rely on?
The Good Comics for Kids Question Tuesday column is here to do one thing: answer your questions! To send in your questions for the next Question Tuesday, please go to our form here or send out a tweet to me at @nfntrobin or to all of us at @goodcomics4kids. We will endeavor to answer as many questions as possible in our weekly column. All questions are due in by Friday at midnight so we’ll have a chance to write up the answers for the next week.
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About Robin Brenner
Robin Brenner is Teen Librarian at the Brookline Public Library in Massachusetts. When not tackling programs and reading advice at work, she writes features and reviews for publications including VOYA, Early Word, Library Journal, and Knowledge Quest. She has served on various awards committees, from the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards to the Boston Globe Horn Book Awards. She is the editor-in-chief of the graphic novel review website No Flying No Tights.
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