December 20, 2010

News: YA section divided?

I've noticed it now for a few months. The not-so-subtle change. The in-your-face signs.

The YA section in Barnes and Noble has changed, and not for the better, in my opinion.

It used to be that there was a shelf for New Releases, then YA fiction, nonfiction and series. But a new division has thrown itself into the mix: Paranormal Romance.

I understand that paranormal romance novels have been cranked out at an alarming rate this past year, but do they really deserve their own section? At the Barnes and Nobles I've visited, it's the same few occupying a whole two to three shelves on their own (Torment, Hush, Hush, Halo ... the list goes on). I honestly wouldn't mind this new division if it wasn't being thrown in my face. I don't like that the regular YA fiction has been cast aside to neighboring shelves, entirely separate, getting less recognition. It's as if they're the rejected books, even though we very well know they're not.

So why make such a big visual division?

Maybe it's just me that's unhappy about the change. Maybe it's because I don't enjoy reading paranormal romances. But what do you think? Yea or nay?

Here's an article about the change.


  1. agree. I hate this change, especially as it seems like now nearly half of the YA in BN are paranormal romances. UGH UGH UGH.

  2. I think it's not because of any ulterior motive to demote YA books dealing with subject matter that does not have paranormal aspects to it. It's simply because they are promoting what sells and what is really popular at the moment. I believe that once the tide turns (as it inevitably will) things might revert to their proper placement unless you know... cowboy stories become really popular. Heh. I haven't noticed the divide so much as the more attention that YA shelves now command in my local bookstore. I think that's a good thing. At least more authors will have a chance to get published with this demand for books from the YA genre.

  3. In Australia, some of the bookshops do have a separate section for paranormal romance. It's due to the whole Twilight craze, I guess. To make it easier for people to find similar reads. But in my opinion, it is unfair and upsetting because all books should receive the same amount of attention. It should be the reader who looks for the book, rather thank having it thrown into their face...

  4. I guess if it works, I don't mind it. It sounds like they did a test of it in one store and then deemed it a success. I imagine "success" was based on increased sales?

    For browsers looking for paranormal books, I would think this change might be helpful. It would make it easier for someone looking for paranormal romances to be able to find them.

    But what about the other section? I'm a little confused as to what it is. Is the category simply "Everything else?" That seems like sloppy organization and makes the non-paranormal books seem like an afterthought. I don't like that.

  5. Nafiza - I don't think it's got anything to do with ulterior motives to demote YA books not included in the paranormal romance genre. You're right. They're promoting what's selling at the moment. I just really dislike that everything else has been shoved aside, at least at my bookstores.

    brave chickens - Agreed!

    Small - At the Barnes and Nobles I've visited, the other section is simply everything else. There's Paranormal Romance, then regular YA fiction. Occasionally there's a YA nonfiction section, too.

  6. Personally, I hate the change. As someone who worked at B&N for 3+ years (2 of which as the children's lead bookseller) I'm just glad I wasn't still employed there when the change happened. I think it's ridiculous. Unless they're going to break the Teen section into genre like the rest of the story, a YA book is a YA book.

    On another note -- did you ever notice how ALL the Paranormal romance teen books like the same??

  7. Sarah - Yes! That might be why I keep thinking only 2 or 3 occupy so many shelves.

  8. I think it's a good business plan, I'm sure... but I don't think it's good. I'm against libraries separating materials by genre, too. I think it really cuts you off from reading in different genres when you only go to one section of a store or the library. I definitely believe in keeping things all together and filing by author. I have no problem with genre stickers in libraries (doesn't work for bookstores, of course), but I think keeping things so separate is problematic, especially when you have a book that crosses several genres.

  9. I'm not a big fan of PNR. not a fan at all. So my first thought upon seeing no less than 6 bays of PNR and YA PNR last time I was at B&N was shock, followed by awe, followed by anger, followed by "this is the best thing ever! now all that garbage won't be clogging the SF/F section!"

  10. I'm not a fan of this change either...I think it's too severe of a separation, to be honest. Yes, the subgenre has exploded, but I think it's detrimental to other YA fiction, too...

  11. I agree, I'm not a huge fan of the change. I noticed that it had happened, but I didn't really think about it extensively until you mentioned it. Both of the B&N's near me, as well as a Borders, have made a separation in YA and paranormal YA.


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