Waterstone's rolling out new teen sections next month

Waterstone's rolling out new teen sections next month

Waterstone’s is to roll out new teen sections to around 100 of its stores from April, following a pilot in four stores that began last summer.

While figures were not available, Waterstone’s said it was “very pleased” with their performance. Sarah Clarke, children’s buying manager for Waterstone’s, said: "While it may make sense to booksellers to keep teen books with children’s, that does not necessarily make sense for the people that want to read them.

“We want to do anything we can to make the transition from children's books to adult ones an easy one and, by taking young adult books out of the children's section, we hope to remove any stigma of being seen to buy ‘kids books’ for image-conscious teens.”

The new sections will be located outside the children’s areas. Unlike the pilot, the new sections will not distinguish between teen and slightly older YA titles, as readers view them as one and the same, said Clarke. Stock will reflect current trends, including “a lot of ‘dark fantasy’ which is still big, romance, thrillers, dystopian visions of the future, and some adult fiction that teens read", Clarke added.

Paranormal fiction still accounts for a significant percentage of teen sales with vampire fans still looking for their next read, said Clarke. “There’s no obvious new phenomenon on the horizon, though teen dystopia is strong, and the Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter proves that spies aren't just for boys.”

While paranormal sales are likely to decline, Clarke said Waterstone’s still intends to maintain the new teen sections. “As sales of one book or series fall off, sales of another will rise, and increased profile in stores for the section will make it a destination part of the store for teens, and those buying for teens.”

US booksellers have long separated teen sections from their children’s areas and it is a model that publishers have called for in the UK. As well as encouraging more teen sales, Christian Herrison, sales manager at Usborne, said: “We hope that this will increase sales of YA titles into the adult market, especially for books that are high profile or in the media spotlight.”