Unfortunately for me the market for picture books is in the toilette. I knew this going in and in fact my first agent contact explained that to me before I even submitted anything to him. In his defense and two other agents that mentioned the difficult picture book market place they all emphatically supported picture books. They love ‘em so what’s the problem? One of the reasons given (besides being cyclical and vampires) was shelf space. That’s right shelf space. You see, you can cram many more MG (middle grade) or YA (young adult) books into the space of one picture book. It makes sense, the MG and YA books cost nearly as much as a picture book and yet take up so little space. So when it comes down to money you know how the die will roll. Less shelf space for picture books = smaller market for picture books.
Last week there was a very interesting Marketplace (American Public Media) segment about Barnes and Noble. Barnes and Noble was targeted in one of the panel discussions I mentioned earlier as a major factor in my market woes. http://marketplace.publicradio.org/display/web/2010/08/04/pm-barnes-woes-signal-book-biz-transition/ I am not sure what a world with less Barnes and Nobles means for me. Is it a movement back to customer centered independent book store or does that mean the PB market will be getting smaller?