July 22, 2009

Get 'em while they're young.


Stephenie Meyer signs book, with possible merch being proposed?

Stephenie Meyer signs book, with possible merch being proposed?

The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that Border’s Group “is launching a teens department to capitalize on such hot writers as Stephenie Meyer and Sarah Dessen, as young-adult authors provide a badly needed lift to booksellers.”

According to the Journal, the newly named Border’s Ink Shops “will stock graphic novels, fantasy and young-adult titles together, [and] are expected to be available in 80% to 90% of the 513 superstores Borders operates nationwide by the end of August.”

The struggling chain has decided to take the space formerly allotted to music and DVD’s and convert it to what they hope will be a teenage shopping heaven. Border’s initiative seems to be driven by the Stephenie Meyer vampire novels craze and all the related vampire crap you can sell, such as bookmarks and pencil cases. “We want this to be about more than just the book,” said Kathryn Popoff, vice president of merchandising/trade books at Borders, told the Journal.

The Journal reports that, “At a time when book retailing is slumping, young-adult titles and graphic novels are still delivering growth. Albert N. Greco, a professor at the Fordham University’s Graduate School of Business Administration who studies the book industry, estimates that young-adult fiction, fantasy and science fiction will generate $744.3 million in U.S. publisher revenue this year, up 13% from $659.1 million in 2008.

Hence, Border’s teen initiative. But what happens when the Meyer bonanza plays itself out? Can publishing manufacture another? Stay tuned kids….

Valerie Merians is the co-founder and co-publisher of Melville House.