Now, bear with me because I haven't been to a brick & mortar bookstore in quite some time. Some of this may be old hat.
First thing I noticed when I walked into my local B&N was that the young adult/teen section was no longer located where I last saw it. R'uh? I did a double take at the section..after all, the children's section is right where it's always been, and shouldn't the teen section be right there, skirting around it? Umm, nope. It was gone.
*Moment of panic and feeling lost in this unfamiliar world*
Then I spotted one of those middle of the aisle tables loaded down with YA books. Whew. There they are!
I headed over, and the first thing that caught my attention was that the young adult section is now located dead center of the bookstore. WHOOT! How awesome is that? Clearly bookstores are finally realizing how very powerful young adult books are in today's market. Heck, to get to the adult section, you have to bypass the teen section, so yeah, chances are some people may be dazzled by all of the kickass YA covers and stop to browse. GOOD THINKING Barnes & Noble.
Second thing I noticed? Umm, there are now Young Adult category headings at the top of the display cases. R'uuuuuhhhh? *double double TRIPLE take*
Yep. My bookstore has three categories listed for teens. "Young adult fiction" "Young adult Sci-Fi/Fantasy" and "Young adult Paranormal ROMANCE."
Pardon me, but what the FRENCH?!
I don't know how others feel about this...and maybe I'm seriously in the minority, but one of the things I absolutely loved best about the way young adult novels had previously been shelved was that all novels by a particular author were housed together in the same place. I know it's sort of an antiquated way of doing things, and perhaps the fact they're separating them into categories is a GOOD thing, but I really liked this practice. For one, it allowed young adult authors to really mix things up, not only with the types of books they chose to write, but with the amount of genre-bending they could do.
What do I mean by that? Well, previously, a young adult author could choose to write a thriller one year, a contemporary the next, and maybe a paranormal the year after that. And with the way things were, all of those books would be shelved right next to each other. Now, apparently, they will be split up amongst these three, IMO, limiting subject headings. Is this just the beginning? Will more categories emerge? Dystopian is hotter than hot right now... I could see that one making an appearance. Is this a slipperly slope we're walking? Will this make books that don't nicely fit into one specific category harder to shelve, and therefore, harder sells to bookstores?
Oh the worry this conjured.
I had to stop and think about BY THE PALE MOONLIGHT. Where would it be shelved? Would they shelve it under Paranormal Romance and call it good? Yes, there are paranormal elements, and there's romance... but there's also a fair amount of mystery/suspense...and just some good old-fashioned teen angst that has nothing to do with being a werewolf. Would this limit the number of people who would be willing to look at it if it was shelved right next to TWILIGHT? (Not saying that would be a BAD thing, mind. I'd do a number of things, most them legal, to get a little bit of Meyers' mojo). But do you see what I'm saying? Everyone in adult complains about branding, and won't this create the same issue for young adult authors? All conjecture, of course...but something to definitely think about. Of course, most people say brick & mortars are on their way out, so perhaps it's all moot anyway.
The final thing I noticed is in respect to my purchases today. I went in with these four books in mind--knowing I wanted to read them. There was a fifth book on my list that had to get nixed *sad face* because, holy crap, batman!! All of these books (with the exception of the Ness novel) were offered in hardback versions only. Not only that, but the prices ranged from 16-19 dollars a piece. Ugh. I'm on to you booksellers. You get us all worked up to read these books, then charge us up the wazoo, knowing in advance that we have absolutely no taste for delayed gratification. The worst part is that you open the books, and the type is humungous and you know they could've packaged it up in a book half the size, at half the price. UGH. I'm on to your Tomfoolery, booksellers. You're reminding me of how great my Kindle is right about now. Ugh, but I wanted these books--bad--and you got me. Next time, though... next time, I'll be smarter!