I was thinking back to when I was a kid and trades weren’t as commonplace outside of comic shops. My dad took my sisters and I out on the weekends and we’d usually end up at Barnes and Noble. While he was looking up his books, my sisters and I hung out at the humor section. Every now and then you’d see a DC or Marvel trade in there.
It was always so exciting because they didn’t pop up often. Sure, if there was a new Batman movie, they’d stock up on a few Batman trades, but overall it was mostly Garfield, Simpsons and Far Side books. Not that there’s anything wrong with those!
They must’ve been popular because within a few years they had their own dedicated section. When I went to other major book stores, they also had a "Graphic Novel’ section (I really hate that term). It got me wondering, though…when do you think the tpb boom hit? I can remember as early as the early 2000s in my senior year of high school when Crossgen had an endcap filled with nothing but trades. It might’ve been sooner, though.