Why We Love Libraries

Why We Love Libraries

Child and Books by George Hodan

America’s librarians are streaming into Chicago at this very moment, adding a bibliophilic gust to the already windy city. Not too many people outside of the secret magical world of libraries, book publishers, and BISAC categorizers knows about the American Library Association’s Annual Conference (affectionately known as ALA), but it’s a sight to behold.

Do you love books? Do you love reading them, talking about them, getting angry at them, falling in love with them, shelving them, sharing them, and piling them up on your bedside table so you can’t see your alarm clock anymore? If so, ALA is your Disney World; not just a celebration of all things book-related, but a theme park of books, a volcanic surge of creativity applied to the question of how we can get more people reading, all in one gigantic room. Why is that exactly? Because libraries, and the librarians who run them, are awesome. Here are some reasons why:

 

Libraries Buy Books

While many people have a vague idea of libraries as big charitable organizations where books flow freely like rivers, libraries purchase those books that they circulate to the rest of us for free, and they don’t just buy one or two copies to keep in stock for 80 years. Like a bookstore, a library has to keep up with demand, and that means they have to stock dozens of copies of a big bestseller to keep their customers happy. This means that . . .

Libraries Buy LOTS Of Books

At Papercutz, our sales to schools and libraries are roughly equal to all of our sales in bookstores (yes, that includes Amazon!). I think that’s mainly because . . .

Librarians Don’t Discriminate

We here at Papercutz are exceptionally proud of the fact that we only publish graphic novels for kids — we don’t publish storybooks, chapter books, or books for adults, because we love comics and we love how they help kids learn how to read. Yet there are lots of prejudices out there against graphic novels. Many people think that graphic novels are somehow not “real” books, which is spectacularly false, of course, but librarians already know this. Librarians just want people to read, and in pursuing that goal they will buy, advocate, champion, and shout from the rooftops about the books they think their customers (patrons!) are enjoying. This is why librarians come to us for books; the kids they know like them and have asked for more. And why are all these kids there to begin with? Because . . .

Libraries Are Where It’s At

The other day I was looking for a kid who lives in our building. Most of the neighbors agreed she was most likely in the library, and indeed she was. Libraries aren’t just places to get free books; they’re palaces of enriching brain activity. There are computers where kids can check their twitters and tumblers, read webcomics, do research for their homework, and keep in touch with friends. They have authors come in to give talks, they screen movies, they host art exhibitions, and sometimes, if you’re lucky, they’ll bring in some cartoonists to teach you how to draw comics. And what do librarians do with this audience at their disposal?

Librarians Sell Books

By “sell” I don’t mean exchanging books for money. I mean they get to know their customers, their particular likes and dislikes, and they recommend books. Librarians excel at talking about books and they excel at being friendly. They combine these two skills into a single powerhouse of literary awareness. No librarian I know is content to sit behind a desk telling people to shush. They’re out there paying attention, listening, and talking; they’re telling people to mess up the shelves (there’s actually a sign encouraging this behavior in my library). They’re telling people to use the library, and to read the books.

To put all of this much more simply, we book publishers couldn’t exist without libraries. If libraries disappeared tomorrow, we would lose one of the most important methods we have for telling the world what we’re up to, which authors we’re excited about, which new stories we think you’ll go nuts for. And more importantly, without this national engine of book support, we might collectively pay less attention to books, and if we did that, we wouldn’t be as smart, and our country would be much less interesting at parties.

In anticipation of ALA this year, we decided to put together this special poster just for the show:

We were thinking about which Papercutz characters would most likely be found in a library, and realized pretty quickly that Nancy Drew, the smartest girl I know, would be there late at night, long after every other patron had gone home, with stacks of books around her, totally unaware of the hours that had passed. Nancy needs the knowledge that comes from books to solve mysteries because that’s the only way to make deductions from the facts she observes. Someone like her needs a place where she can learn about science, medicine, history, geology, current events, and everything else there is to know without straying too far. And I like thinking that she’d read up on some of her detective heroes while she’s at it. This image from the stupendous Stan Goldberg perfectly captures everything we love about libraries.

Needless to say, we just can’t wait to get out to Chicago tomorrow and start hanging out with America’s librarians. We’ll be at Booth #2550 with stuff to give away all weekend, and we’ll be flying home on Monday full of inspiration for our next year of book-making.

See you there!

 

 

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Papercutz World Tour 2013: Next Stop, The Hall of Heroes!

What a week! After blasting our way through B-E-Yay and bouldering up to Denver Comic-Con, the Papercutz Away Team is back at work, fully refreshed and ready for more. Here’s good old Associate Editor Mike Petranek planning our next tour stop as we speak:

And he’s ably assisted by Director of Advance Review Copies Beth Scorzato, pictured here bright-eyed and bushy-tailed as usual:

I don’t know about you, but I think these two are ready for one more — on to HeroesCon!

If you’re from the greater Charlotte, NC area, or are even remotely interested in comic books, then you’re most likely heading over to HeroesCon, as well. We’ve never been before but we’re really excited, as everyone tells us that it’s full of kids who love comics and, more importantly, that it’s full of comics, period. Back in the 20th century when I was a kid, comic book conventions had mainly comics out on display — comics to buy, sell, get autographed, talk about in panels, and spill food on during dinner. Nowadays, comics conventions have everything else, as well — movie stars, TV stars, Ultimate Frisbee stars, etc. This makes for a lot of fun but sometimes it’s hard to just find something you love to read, something you can roll up in your back pocket and lose yourself in during a summer’s day off from school. Although our sturdy sewn paperbacks are kind of tough to roll up in your back pocket, we’re still quite honored to represent comics at a show like HeroesCon that aims to celebrate them. Many thanks to Karla Marsh and the rest of the crew for inviting us!

But enough about Frisbee, let’s talk about the AMAZING loot to be found at Papercutz Booth #919!

We’ve got a comic book-ish ARIOL poster, suitable for taping to walls:

 

A gorgeous SYBIL THE BACKPACK FAIRY poster starring Nina as a mermaid, suitable for swimming:

 

We’ve got this sleuthy NANCY DREW AND THE CLUE CREW sticker, suitable for sticking on notebooks:

 

There’s this heroic BENNY BREAKIRON mini-print, suitable for leaping over French cafes:

Then this quite glossy THEA STILTON bookmark, suitable for forgetting to place inside a book because it’s so nice to look at:

 

A super-premium LEGO NINJAGO print, suitable for spinning attacks on snakes:

 

And lastly, this entirely free SMURFS comic book, suitable for smurfing!

 

But that’s not all — we’ve just heard from HeroesCon HQ that lucky kids in attendance this year will get a Passport to Fun! A Passport to Fun is exactly what it sounds like: a pass that gets you fun stuff all around the show, leading to your very own free book from the HeroesCon Kids Library. Passport completists will find a couple dozen Papercutz books in the library along with a a treasure trove of other cool stuff.

And when Sunday rolls around in Charlotte, don’t forget to swing back to Booth #919 for the epic Papercutz Kids’ Day Sale! All books are buy-one-get-one-half-off, so you won’t want to miss it.

See you in Charlotte, and have a great time!

 

 

 

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Papercutz World Tour 2013: Denver, Big City of Dreams!

For those of you who faithfully follow our blog, waiting on the edge of your seat for news about our whereabouts, you already know that we’re at B-E-Yay this week. Now, I’m here to report, we will ALSO be at Denver Comic-Con! How is this possible, you ask? Well, my friends, Papercutz isn’t a publishing company as much as a vast network of comic book agents around the world just waiting to be activated for top-secret graphic novel missions. And while I’m in New York hobnobbing with literati, Associate Editor Mike Petranek and Chief Tumblr Officer Beth Scorzato will be running things up in the Mile-High City. You should stop by and say hi!

What will our Denver Papercutz fans expect to find at Booth #1029? A host of wonderful things, in fact! Our goal is to make the Papercutz booth at every show we attend the must-visit stop for kids and the parents they have in tow. Not only will many of our fine graphic novels be available for sale, but we’ll be giving away tons of free goodies!

We’ve got a hilarious ARIOL poster:

 

A less hilarious but much more aquatic SYBIL THE BACKPACK FAIRY poster:

A THEA STILTON bookmark for all you crusading journalist mice out there:

This mysterious NANCY DREW AND THE CLUE CREW sticker:

A totally free SMURFS comic:

A frame-worthy BENNY BREAKIRON mini-print:

And this equally frame-worthy LEGO NINJAGO print:

The eagle-eyed among you may remember this mind-blowing museum piece from last year’s world tour. We have a scant few remaining that we’ll give away for free at every tour stop until we run out, which may be pretty soon, if I remember how fast they flew in 2012. And if you’re in Denver, you’ll be able to get yours signed by this handsome devil:

 

That’s New York Times Best-Selling cartoonist Jolyon Yates, who not only conceived of and illustrated the above print but also draws the entire LEGO NINJAGO graphic novel series! And if signatures from famous cartoonists aren’t exactly your thing, we’ve got you covered — Jolyon will also be giving out free sketches upon request throughout the weekend! Just stop by our booth each day to find out when, and watch out for those spinning ninja!

Finally, Papercutz has a special treat for kids who stick around until Sunday: the world-renowned Papercutz Sunday Sale! All day Sunday, every book is buy-one-get-one-half-off. We’ve gotten rave reviews for this special deal so often that we’ve decided to make it a permanent fixture; it’s just the perfect way to fill in your SMURFS collection.

See you in Denver, everyone, and most importantly, have a great time!

 

 

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Papercutz World Tour 2013: First Stop, B-E-Yay!

Stan Goldberg sketching for fans at last year’s BEA. He’ll be back this year!

Geez, it feels like we haven’t finished resting up from last year’s Papercutz World Tour and we’re already mere days away from starting the next one! Our little spies keep telling me that the big daddy tour stop of them all, San Diego Comic-Con, is just weeks away, and I’m forcefully ignoring this with all my strength. One tour stop at a time, people!

I kid, though; we at the trans-dimensional comics factory known as Papercutz love it when the bosses let us out into the real world to meet our readers and fans. There’s honestly no better part of the job than watching young eyes light up when they pass our table full of colorful wonders and stop dead in their tracks. Comics, people — there’s no force in the world more powerful.

Of all the wonderful stops around the country, there’s definitely something special about Book Expo America, or B-E-Yay for short. Although it’s not as famous as the big comics conventions, it’s a haven for bibliophiles and a literal treasure trove of literary loot. Once a year, all the greatest writers, publishers, booksellers, book-lenders, and book lovers descend upon New York and celebrate all things book. Papercutz is right in the middle of this, at Booth #1562 to be exact!

We’ll be back with a play-by-play account of how it goes next week, but we just wanted to take a few minutes to let you know about the amazing stuff we have planned. Without further ado, a tremendous list:

 

Free Books!

Any bloggers, print journalists, or TV personalities who stop by to make our acquaintance at B-E-Yay will receive a prize pack of free books to kickstart our budding new relationship. These aren’t ARCs, mind you, but real-life books you can put on your shelves at home or give to a kid on your way to work. The prize pack includes BENNY BREAKIRON, NANCY DREW AND THE CLUE CREW, ARIOL, THE SMURFS, and THEA STILTON.

 

Free Other Stuff!

We’ve got posters:

And bookmarks:

And mini-prints:

And important maps:

And tote bags:

And buttons:

(I think I like the buttons best of all.)

 

Famous Cartoonists!

If “Stan the Man” wasn’t already taken, we’d call Stan Goldberg, “Stan the Man.”

We’re honored to have the illustrious comics legend Stan Goldberg grace our Book Expo booth once again this year. Stan will be signing, sketching, and telling jokes to his legions of fans on Thursday morning from 10 to 12, and he may make another surprise appearance later during the weekend if you miss him.

Stan will not just be signing books, but signing FREE books. And he won’t just be signing free books, he’ll also be giving away free sketches of your favorite characters! (But he’ll be giving extra special care to his sketches of NANCY DREW AND THE CLUE CREW, his latest and greatest series from us here at Papercutz.)

Fashion expert and supernatural cartoonist JayJay Jackson is an expert at signing posters — come see for yourself!

And second but not least is a fashionable visit from fabulous JayJay Jackson, writer and artist of our upcoming best-selling series, STARDOLL! Some comics fans of a certain age (namely my age) will remember JayJay as Janet Jackson, colorist and logo designer extraordinaire for Marvel back in the swinging 1980s, especially for Star Comics, their children’s imprint back then. We’re immensely proud to welcome JayJay back to the kids’ comics world with STARDOLL, a young adult trip through fashion school with a supernatural twist, all inspired by the megahit social gaming phenomenon over at Stardoll.com.

On Saturday morning from 10 to 12, JayJay will be signing THIS cool poster:

And hopefully sharing her fashion tips if you ask politely.

That it’s from us save for some last-minute surprises (hopefully including a late-night pizza delivery by some Papercutz helper gnomes). We’ll see you at the show!

 

 

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BENNY BREAKIRON BURSTS ONTO THE SCENE DURING “THE SUMMER OF PEYO”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 30, 2013

New York, NY — Almost 70 years ago in Brussels, a young man named Pierre Culliford applied for a job as a dental assistant only to find that he had missed the interview by 15 minutes. Culliford was forced to take a job as an illustrator instead. Today, his legions of fans can look back on that late appointment as the moment Culliford became the cartoonist known as Peyo, and his little blue woodland creatures called The Smurfs were born.

The Smurfs may be only three-apples-high, but their influence across the decades and around the globe is legendary, spawning toys, feature films, an animated TV series, and all the other makings of a media empire. But to Peyo’s truest admirers, it all goes back to the original comics that started it all. This summer, Papercutz, the children’s graphic novel publisher, celebrates the master cartoonist’s life in an event they’re calling “The Summer of Peyo” with two new ongoing series: THE SMURFS ANTHOLOGY, a deluxe repackaging of the classic comics in handsome hardcovers, and the debut of BENNY BREAKIRON, Peyo’s super-powered grade school champion, never before seen in the U.S.

“We are very proud and excited that Papercutz will launch BENNY BREAKIRON in the United States and give comics fans the opportunity to discover the great adventures of this gentle and brave hero,” said Veronique Culliford, business director of Lafig Belgium and Culliford’s daughter.

BENNY BREAKIRON #1: “The Red Taxis” tells the story of a little boy with big heart, big ambition, and big problems when his superpowers go on the fritz at all the wrong times. THE SMURFS ANTHOLOGY VOL. 1  kicks off a major reprint effort that will see every Smurfs comic in chronological order presented anew for older collectors with contextual notes and behind-the-scenes photos. As a special treat for fans, the series will include Peyo’s Johan and Peewit stories in which The Smurfs made their very first appearances, many of of which have not been published in the original Papercutz SMURFS graphic novel series.

That series, a run of smaller-format volumes for kids, has sold more than 350,000 copies to date. The best-selling run continues during “The Summer of Peyo” with THE SMURFS #15: “The Smurflings” featuring the comics debut of the fan-favorite Sassette, and THE SMURFS #16: “The Aerosmurf”.

“Bringing Peyo’s SMURFS comics to an American audience two years ago was a dream come true for me, something I’ve been wanting to do for years,” said Papercutz Editor-In-Chief Jim Salicrup. “I can’t think of a better tribute to Peyo’s genius than this gorgeous hardcover series designed by Adam Grano and the introduction of yet another new series for Peyo fans, the bad-guy-busting BENNY BREAKIRON!”

 

ABOUT PAPERCUTZ

Popular with reluctant readers and gifted readers alike, Papercutz graphic novels for kids, tweens, and teens cover a wide range of genres, reading levels, and favorite characters including The Smurfs, LEGO® NINJAGO, Geronimo Stilton, Nancy Drew, and many more. Papercutz is proud to be the largest publisher exclusively dedicated to children’s graphic novels, with books available at all major retailers, bookstores, comic book stores, and digitally on comiXology.com.

ABOUT LAFIG BELGIUM S.A.

Lafig Belgium is the owner of the rights to produce audio-visual works based on the Smurfs universe and of the Smurfs worldwide licensing rights (together with IMPS). Lafig Belgium is controlled by the heirs of Pierre Culliford, better known by his pseudonym Peyo, the author/creator of The Smurfs. For 50 years, the Culliford family has controlled the Smurfs characters and all licenses worldwide.

 

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