Where is the YA?

Filed under: Booksellers, Touching the Surface, YA Books

I popped into my local Barnes and Noble yesterday to buy some Christmas presents and pet the books.  It always gives me a little thrill to hop in the escalator and ascend directly into the YA section.  Yeah, it’s kinda cheesy, but it almost feels like one of those movies where you’ve died and gone to heaven. LOL!  So, I’m about half way up when I realize that my beloved YA section is now the school curriculum area.


My eyes immediately shoot to where all the curriculum supplies used to be and low and behold…no YA.  I scan the children’s PB/MG section–thinking this can’t be good.  How did they squeeze all those books in an already crowded area.  My palms are starting to sweat.  No YA books in sight.  I double check under a table display.

Dashing back to the escalator, I begin to search the rest of the store for any sign of a new area–glittering with YA books.  I can’t see anything.  This is the point where I start to talk to myself…

They still have a YA section.  Relax.  It’s not likely that Barnes and Noble removed all of it’s teen reading, less then a year before your book hits the shelf.  OMG!  There’s a reason that people call our family the Griswalds.  Take a deep breath.  You’re being silly.  Do what you have to do here and then go look for it. Find it you must.  Stop talking like Origami Yoda.  Damn-it!  Where is Dwight and Origami Yoda when I really need help?

I quickly grabbed handfuls of the books I needed from the kids section, then I stalk down the store, reading every sign on every bookcase until I find them.  It was the weirdest thing–the YA books were now shelved with the adult books.

I’ll be honest with you, my first thought was–this was no cozy, heavenly, balcony-like corner.  This is plain and boring.  But then I started to peruse the shelved.  There were several and a couple tables.  And I started to feel move comfortable.  Then I looked around…

There were adults, weaving in and out of the aisles.  A lot more adults than I’d normally see in the YA section.  And then I got all tingly with excitement because this idea was brilliant.  Teen readers are die-hard, loyal fans.  Like me.  I’m going to find those books no matter where they put them in the store.  But there is an untapped, crossover audience out there that has no plans to wander into the YA section.  It’s time to bring the Mountain to Mohammed–so to speak.

Of course I didn’t have to fake enthusiasm, to encourage the other grown-ups in my vicinity to rush over and see what I was all excited about.  I seriously squeal when I get around all of those books.  I petted quite a few and even adopted some.  Hey–they looked lonely.  And I won’t lie to you.  I left pretty darn happy–feeling like there has been a shift in the universe and excited that I’m here to watch it happen.

So what do you think the YA books should be shelved?  

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6 Responses | TrackBack URL | Comments Feed

  1. Considering the legions of adult readers of YA fiction, it probably makes sense. As for the younger readers…well, I doubt they'll be offended by having their reading matter of choice moved, do you? As long as they can find it.

    And I totally check out the Sci-Fi/Fantasy shelves of every book store I walk into, and find the exact spot my book will be shelved. Then I sigh heavily, and dream. 🙂

  2. I was just in B&N and rode the escalator with the same sense of anticipation you described. (I like to visit the B shelf and see where my book will end up. Right beside Judy Blume!) Anyway, I think it's a great idea to mix YA with adult selections. I remember walking out of the library trying to hide Harry Potter 1 because it was a kid's book.

    Not anymore!

  3. So were they still on separate shelves or was twilight next to a bodice ripper?

    I'm all for putting them in the same area as long as they're on separate shelves (similarly to how they separate out the romance novels) so kids can find them without having to pick through the adult novels.

  4. Ha! No bodice rippers mixed in. They had their own group of shelves, end caps and tables. *kicks self for not taking a pic*

  5. It figures that I'd have the day off when you were at the store, Kim – I would have walked you right up to the new section myself! Sorry I missed you, it's always a better day whenever I see you at the store! 🙂

    The move of Teen books to the Adult fiction and genre section had some controversy (there have been a few complaints from mothers who don't think the Teen books should be right across from the Romance books) but overall I think it was a good move. The store needed to expand its educational toys and games section, and rearrange the kids dept. So the managers decided to move the Teen section.

    I did weigh in with my opinion favoring the move. Yes, it was nice when the Teen dept. had its own special section at the top of the escalator. But it seemed like most of the adults who shopped there were parents (and YA writers like us, of course!)

    Teen fiction is fast-growing in sales, not just at this Barnes & Noble, but in all bookstores and online book outlets. So it makes sense to give them cross-over status, within general and genre fiction. We get many teens buying books from the Fiction dept (like classics; and authors like Megan McCafferty, Stephen King and Anne Rice; and titles like The Perks of Being a Wallflower). And now we have many adults buying more Teen titles!

    So I think it's a win-win, for sales and readers both!

  6. Are they shelving them mixed in with general fiction, or did they just move the section close to adult?
    If it's the latter, YAY!!! I don't think either teens or adults who love YA like shopping in the "kids" department.

    But if it's the former, I fear all but the very biggest titles will just get lost in the shuffle… Not that that doesn't happen with adult fiction titles, I just liked the fact that at least the YA titles were separated out and easier to find…

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