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Ink on the Borders

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock (and even if you have been - if Wi-Fi can go these places it can go anywhere) you’re aware that Young Adult books are rockin’ the charts. And the sales figures. With a 13% growth over 2008, Young Adult books are the high point in an industry that is otherwise seeing losses. We’re seeing more agents looking for YA, more publishers looking for YA and now Borders is getting in on the action with their new YA “shop,” Ink.

Ink is a stylized section within the traditional Borders store; the bright décor, laid back feeling, and merging of traditional books with manga and graphic novels is intended to click with a younger segment of the population. But is it a step in the right direction or are they overdoing it?

On the one hand, it’s a good thing for the mainstream to recognize what a powerhouse Young Adult books are in the marketplace. A larger area for (hopefully) a larger selection of books that appeal to teens, yes, but also pre-teens and adults can be a boon for YA writers, like me.

On the other hand, the neon colors, overly bright lighting and plethora of non-book “merchandise” (I’m being very, very nice here) is a huge turn off. Rather, I would like to see a Young Adult section that keeps the décor sparse, showcases a thoughtful selection of books, offers places to lounge while browsing and provides free Wi-Fi. After all, that’s what my local independent offers – and I happily spend my money there.

Read more about Ink here.
Kristin Halbrook

Kristin Halbrook is the author of the critically-acclaimed young adult novels Nobody But Us (HarperTeen, 2013) and Every Last Promise (HarperTeen, 2015). She likes many things.

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  1. I'll have to wait and see at my own Borders before I can comment. I can say it's really nice that they're finally separating teen books from the children's section.

    I do find it off-putting when companies try too hard to be hip for teenagers -- the flashiness might work for the 9-12 tween set, but actual teens are often embarrassed by that kind of thing. What's worse is when companies expand that mindset even farther, like with Blue Cross's Tonik health plan for people in their twenties. I mean, look at their website:

    ow my eyes

  2. Um, yeah, that is a little tacky and overdone. I would walk in there to buy a book if there were not another book store around but it would not hold me there...

  3. I agree with the sentiment that they may be overdoing it a bit. Teens definitely try to steer clear of anything that looks like it's trying super hard to be teen-ish, because teens are, of course, too cool for that ;)

    Maybe they'll tone it down a little, in which case I think it's awesome. YA can be really hard to find in bookstores sometimes!

  4. 1. Kristin, I can't tell you how much I love you for including that wifi link. :)

    2. Yeah, I agree with ST6153- tacky is the word.

    You know how some YA books (cough*HP*cough) came out with "adult" covers so that adults could read without shame in public? Um...what makes them think adults are going to proudly shop in an area like that?

    Or teens, for that matter (as Kaitlin said.) I like that it's separated and easier to find, but minus all the fanfare and decor would be nice.

    With all this talk about how YA isn't "light and frothy" nowadays, it'd probably be good if the shelves reflected that.

  5. It's great that YA is finally getting recognition. But I gotta agree with everyone else. When the YA section starts to look like a teeny-bopper's myspace page has blown up, it's trying to hard. We just need a separate section with lots of shelves.


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Item Reviewed: Ink on the Borders Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Kristin Halbrook