An excellent, uplifting piece of news to bring in the weekend; Raina Telgemeier’s upcoming book, Sisters, a follow-up story to her hugely successful, Eisner-award winning Smile- which has now been on the Times bestseller list for over 100 weeks(!) - will be given an initial print run of 200,000 copies, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal. Telgemeier will support the book's release this August with a book tour. As huge as that number is, I've no doubt it will do enormously well- perhaps even eclipse Smile (which currently has over a million copies in print), now that Telgemeier's books have provided a built in audience and a greater awareness.
I'm in the process of writing about the success of Smile, but I think there's a few things that can be superficially gleaned here. One: the market for children's comics exists. That may seem obvious, but the number of comics publishers not looking to that area at all seems frankly daft to me. Two; I often hear people complain about the lack of comics suitable for children and I don't think that's true: there's not a great deal of serialised, monthly all-ages comics, but the book/graphic novel market is in pretty healthy shape- you only have to look to Toon Books, First Second, Papercutz, even D&Q more recently with the Pippi and Anna and Froga series to see the wealth of material around.
Being in the UK makes it that bit more difficult to gauge; not only is the market in the US bigger with a more robust system of book and library fairs, events, but availability is also a problem- Scholastic's Graphix line has had no distributor here, Amazon aside, meaning bookshops are unlikely to stock it. I believe that may have changed recently, but the situation largely remains the same. But 200,000 for an all-ages comic-book! What an amazing achievement for Telgemeier; the kind of comics news that makes you glad to be a part of the medium.
Sisters will be published on August 26th. You can see a preview of it here, in Scholastic's Fall 2014 showcase.