Beyond Review Journals – Finding Cool Books for Your Collection

Review journals are always the first place most of us to go to find books to buy for our collections.  But good as they are (and as a reviewer for Booklist I think I’m contractually obligated to say that), we all know that not every book with teen appeal gets reviewed in one journal or another.

So – where else to go when you want to find some cool books for your collection? Well, your best bet is to go where the teens are going.  Or, read what mags they’re reading. Be open minded about what you see and you’re sure to find some neat titles at a number of venues – print, online, or physical.

1) Urban Outfitters – Okay, so you have to put aside all the drinking game and Kama Sutra titles loaded up on their book table, but I always find something I want in my collection when I browse this retailer which has branded itself cool and edgy.  You can look through their online “book store” (find it referenced under Apartment), but I really prefer to visit the stores.  That way I can actually skim through the books to determine whether it has content I can feel comfortable having in my collection (remember, no journal reviews means no back up if a book gets challenged), and it also gives me a chance to surreptitiously watch what teens in the store are picking up.  A cool title I just found there:  The World of Geekcraft

2) Modcloth – an online retailer.  Again, books come under their Apartment heading.  Since they mainly sell fashion, the majority of books I come across here have something to do with style, i.e. Fifty Dresses That Changed the World and Fifty Shoes That Changed the World are recent gems that will work well in my nonfiction collection.

3) “Rolling Stone,” “Entertainment Weekly,” etc. – Books reviewed in these pages often rank high in teen appeal – especially those that profile bands and entertainers.  And don’t be afraid to buy books about long gone bands or dead entertainers.  Among certain young adults I know, anything about Johnny Cash is hot (yeah!), so Roseanne Cash’s memoir is something to consider.

3) Bookstores – Whether you browse in  indies or chains, never visit a bookstore without a notebook.  I especially find books I want to buy in the humor section.  Examples? Desperate Cupcakes and Every Zombie Eats Somebody Sometime.  Peruse the comics and manga section too when you’re out and about.  I almost always find something I’ve missed.


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