Picked up on this story in Publisher’s Weekly via a link on the excellent Neil Gaiman’s blog (please tell us you’re going to come over and visit us in Edinburgh again with the new book in the Autumn please, Neil). Seems more and more booksellers are waking up to the sales potential of a well-managed graphic novels sections. Award winning publications such as the fantastic Jimmy Corrigan by Chris Ware and the hard-hitting Palestine by Joe Sacco have raised the profile amongst the non comic reading public in a way not seen since Spiegelman’s groundbreaking Maus.

Naturally some of us (activating Smug Mode) have known about this for a very long time. When I first started at Waterstone’s in Edinburgh we had a tiny amount of GNs – some Watchmen, some Dark Knight Returns, V for Vendetta and that’s about it. Over a decade and it now has a very broad range, from traditional superheroes to vampires, manga-style mythology to political commentary. I’m also proud to say my humble section – which accounts for many thousands of pounds for our store from a very small section each year – contains action, romance, history, politics, mythology, theology, blasphemy, fornication, drugs, sex, supernatural critters, and plenty of humour. Some are straightforward tales, others are staggeringly complex examples of storytelling, littered with references to other works, world politics and folklore and commentary. Anyone who tells you these are just comic books and for kids is a fool who needs to read more – send them my way and I’ll give them a damn fine reading list. Or have a look at some of the excellent reviews many of us post of some damned good graphic novels on the award-winning (I love being able to say that) Alien Online.

And still we’re expanding the range as we find more we like and more folk’s give their ideas too (one day Alex will get his copy of Quimby in the store).

Oh and a big thank you to Mr and Mrs Ariel for both dinner and a fun night in Edinburgh last week and the kind words about the section in our wee bookstore. Nice to finally meet him in the flesh after all those years. I’ve known Ariel since he edited the Waterstone’s Guide to SF back in the 90s when I was writing material for it. The good old days when Waterstone’s was a real bookstore and employed the expert knowledge of dedicated booksellers… sigh…