Young Adult Fiction Readers

Keeping in the same vein of discussion as the last post, Susan Carpenter of the LA Times wrote an article that discusses the demographic breakdown of Young Adult Fiction buyers and readers.

The percentages shouldn’t really come as a surprise:

According to a new study from Bowker Market Research, released Thursday, 55% of buyers of books designated for children aged 12 to 17 are actually age 18 or older. Buyers between the ages of 30 and 44 account for the largest percentage of young adult sales, according to Understanding the Children’s Book Consumer in the Digital Age, an ongoing biannual study from Bowker.

The adults are not purchasing the books for others, the study found; 78% of the adults who reported buying young adult titles said they were purchasing the books to read themselves.

The remainder of the article – for those of you vehemently deny the courtesy of your eyes to any other blog, and for that I salute you – explains that 50% of readers of  both The Hunger Games and Divergent – full-circle, baby – are adults 18 or older.

It also points out that The Hunger Games sold 50+ million copies, which boggles my subpar mind as much as the fact that some people defend Suzanne Collins’ writing ability. But I digress.

In my previous post, I questioned whether or not freshly printed YA titles were enjoying strong sales due to standing on the shoulders of The Hunger Games. And, in a fist-pumping moment of vindication, Kelly Gallagher of Bowker Market Research confirms my suspicions.

The extent and age breakout of adult consumers of these works was surprising. And while the trend is influenced to some extent by the popularity of ‘The Hunger Games,’ our data shows it’s a much larger phenomenon than readership of this single series.

Her last line confirms that this trend does not begin and end with The Hunger Games, but it was most certainly pushed forward by the series – the trend itself beginning with the explosion of H-Potts & The S-Stone.

The next question would be why are adults reading so much YA? And, after I find the other half of my face that melted off while roasting in the Sunday football sun, I’ll be tackling that question.

Enjoy the pun(t).

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One thought on “Young Adult Fiction Readers

  1. IntrovertedAnalyst

    When it comes to THG sales, those bother me far less than those of, say, Fifty Shades of Grey, because at least in THG, there’s actually a plot and the story is trying to stand on its own merits. And Collins actually can write pretty decent action, the bare bones of an interesting plot, and on occasion an interesting character, which is a lot more than EL James is capable of. But I digress… /bitter

    Anyway I have to admit I find it odd that so many adults are buying YA for themselves. I really feel like YA shouldn’t even be considered a genre- teens and pre-teens can get through a lot better if someone just gives it to them. My 10-year-old younger brother is currently reading Fellowship of the Ring on his own time, and another younger sister who’s the target demographic for YA read and loved The Once and Future King. And while I get the pleasures of a light read very well, you’re so much better equipped to comprehend better literature as an adult- I just don’t get why you wouldn’t spend your time on that. There will always be books that have a certain timeless appeal- The Hobbit comes to mind. But there’s room for a much greater comprehension of literature as an adult- there are great authors and tales that will resonate much more if processed as an adult. I’ve just been on a Shakespeare binge, for example, and I have a much greater appreciation for the language and the story of Henry V now than I did when I first saw it at the age of 12. I get that there are some YA authors that write well (though they don’t seem to get a lot of press, as noted in the last post…) but I guess what I don’t understand is why those authors wouldn’t just write the story and trust to the maturity of their audience. There might be a certain “lowest common denominator” type factor, and the sad thing is that it seems to be paying off. Even Fifty Shades, for all that it’s porn, is remarkably juvenile in its portrayal of romance.


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