Library Services Centre

Automatic Release Plans (ARPs) are growing at LSC and one collection in particular which has been gaining a lot of attention is Graphic Novels.  This can be an overwhelming collection to get started, and is even more overwhelming to keep up with, when there are so many titles and series to choose from.  Most – but not all - libraries have worked a graphic novel collection into their annual budget, and there has most likely been a need to increase your budgets over the past 3-5 years since they have grown in popularity among the general public.


For many patrons, a desire to read graphic novels comes from seeing the most recently blockbuster on the big screen. The release of superhero movies are eagerly anticipated by kids and adults alike, and publishers such as Marvel or DC use the cinematic adventures of their characters as an opportunity to draw attention to the series which inspired the film. Most of the time, publishers will use the release of a film as a chance to rerelease older titles, in order to bring in new readers (this tactic is currently being used by Dark Horse with their deep library of Hellboy titles and spinoffs, in advance of the new film being released in April). 2019 will see the most superhero movie releases to date, with 11 of them due in theatres throughout the year.  This is a jump from 2018 during which there were 9 releases from all of the big production companies, including Disney, and Warner Bros. 


 Aquaman left theatres earlier this year, but how do you know which Aquaman graphic novels to get when there are so many volumes, from so many authors, published over so many years to choose from? That is where we come in to assist you. As LSC’s graphic novel selector I have access to publisher reviews, suggestions, and circ and sales data from public libraries, which I use to compare series. If you are looking for that perfect Aquaman series for your older readers, I would suggest checking out the DC Comics Rebirth series, published in 2017 & 2018 and includes a compilation of all the original Aquaman comics.


March saw the opening of Captain Marvel, which will have readers young and old wanting to find out more about Brie Larson’s – star of Room and Kong: Skull Island (which was also adapted from a 3-part graphic novel series) – leading character Carol Danvers.  You can find out more about her in a brand new series called The Life of Captain Marvel, with volume 1 having just been released this past February.


What are some of the benefits of letting us handle, or at least make recommendations for, your graphic novels selection?  First and foremost, this will be a huge timesaver for your selector in this area – or possibly to several of them if you have your collections broken out by juvenile, young adult & mature/adult content.  There is a lot of time spent searching for previous titles within series, and figuring out which similar character series should be ordered over another. Secondly, your staff may simply not have the experience of working with graphic novels. They might not be able to tell Spider-man from Antman. Or, a western-style comic from a Japanese manga series, whose sheer numbers, intimidating lengths, and varying levels of appropriate content make them an entirely different battle to wage. A battle we are happy to wage on your behalf. 


As previously mentioned, publisher’s information, looking at sales data, and seeing what is circulating in others libraries are the best tools that can be offered when selecting this material.  Most titles will have pre-publication ordering done which will be a big benefit to your patrons. Many of whom are impatiently awaiting the release of the next volume of their favourite title, and will be able to put holds on the upcoming big hit – have you ordered the next title in the Dog Man series that is due to be published in August 2019?  I am sure most of you are still struggling to get through the holds lists from volume 6 which was released just before Christmas! On the Booknet Canada top 10 Juvenile and YA Books of 2018, 4 of the top 10 titles were from this series.  Volume 6 and 7 are sure to make the 2019 list as well so you don’t want to miss this one.


One question that I get asked quite frequently by customers who are new to the ARP world and have multiple branches in their system:  How do you know which branches to continue the series in if we have ordered them in the past?  For existing customers who have ordered from LSC in the past this is easy as looking at the historic ordering data in LSCs database.  For new customers, I work directly with your online library catalogue to find out information such as:  Do you carry the series?  Which branches should I be ordering for?  And into which collection to do classify that upcoming Lumberjanes title, Juvenile or Young Adult? 


If you are looking to find out what the next steps are in getting your library set up on a Graphic Novels ARP, please get in touch with Angela Stuebing for some sample profiles and outlines of the information that is needed.  This is a quick process and ordering can be started for your collection within days of gathering your library likes/dislikes, budgets and processing details. 


To keep up to date with all of LSC’s latest offerings, please follow LSC on Facebook, on Instagram, and on Twitter, and to subscribe to our new YouTube Channel. We also encourage you to subscribe to the weekly Green Memo, and we hope you check back each and every week on this site for our latest musings on the publishing world.


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