“Comics for young readers, middle grade, and YA pulled themselves up by the bootstraps… They’ve become one of the great publishing success stories, not just in comics but for the entire book trade, purely on the basis of what’s between the covers.”
I have many pet peeves when it comes to the publishing industry, and one of them is how little attention comics get in the broader trade press. Now that comics are an integral part of my day job, I’m regularly confronted by the industry’s ignorance of one its strongest growing categories over the past decade.
Comics have historically benefitted more from word of mouth and specialty stores to drive sales, including a long history of what’s now considered “influencer” marketing. Despite representing $1B in annual sales and a global audience, it’s still frequently dismissed as a niche category for nerds and kids. It wasn’t until a few won major ‘literary’ awards that regular bookstores and libraries really started paying attention to them, though.
I wonder what the kids who’ve grown up reading Yang, Telgemeier, Kibuishi, Pilkey, and Craft moved on to? Did they stick with comics, shift to YA, or get discouraged from reading at all as some parents and educators still think comics don’t count as real reading?