In a year that started with an agreement to add Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication data to all of its graphic novel collections, DC Comics also reported that overall sales of its graphic novels to the library market grew by “double digits” in 2012 and the publisher is looking to continue that growth in 2013.
In a conference call with DC Entertainment v-p, marketing John Cunningham and v-p, sales Bob Wayne, Cunningham said DC Comics was working to build “a library infrastructure at DC Comics that rivals what you find at a traditional book publishing house.”
Cunningham, who worked for years as an associate publisher at St. Martin’s Press before joining DC Comics, cited the growth in sales to the library market in 2012. He said that DC is working to make sure its titles are available to librarians via digital galleys and the house has been working to make sure advance copies of its graphic novels are available through the Edelweiss and NetGalley services. DC Comics, Cunningham said, also teams with its distributor to the book trade, Random House Publisher Services, to sponsor parties and events at American Library Association conventions.
He also cited the work of Ailen Lujo, DC Comics marketing director for books, and her work with the ALA and compiling a mailing list of more than a 1,000 libraries, as well as the work of Sue Pohja, DC Comics v-p, of book trade sales. Nevertheless, Cunningham acknowledged some areas where DC’s library and lending efforts can be improved.
Although digital lending of graphic novels is a very small niche in the library market, several vendors offer the service. Digital library vendor OverDrive offers a limited selection of digital comics to libraries for lending and Iverse Media’s Comics Plus: Library Edition and Lerner’s Brain Hive K-12 lending service both offer school libraries similar services that allow digital comics and graphic novels to be loaned on a cost-per-checkout basis. Asked whether DC Comics worked with any of these digital lending services, Cunningham acknowledged that DC, “is not yet involved in e-lending. Graphic novels lag behind in the e-lending category but it’s an issue that needs to be addressed.”
But Cunningham was quick to cite the decision in March to include Library of Congress cataloging information in all of its original and collection book editions. “This kind of library information is elemental at a traditional book publisher,” Cunningham said, “It was a challenge here at DC but it has worked well and DC really stepped up to get it done.”