More Than Half Of YA Books Bought By Grownups—For Themselves
This is interesting: More than half the consumers of books classified for young adults aren’t all that young, according to a new study reported in Publishers Weekly:
“Fully 55% of buyers of works that publishers designate for kids aged 12 to 17—known as YA books—are 18 or older, with the largest segment aged 30 to 44, a group that alone accounted for 28% of YA sales. And adults aren’t just purchasing for others—when asked about the intended recipient, they report that 78% of the time they are purchasing books for their own reading. The insights are courtesy of Understanding the Children’s Book Consumer in the Digital Age, an ongoing biannual study from Bowker Market Research that explores the changing nature of publishing for kids.
‘The investigation into who is reading YA books began when we noticed a disparity between the number of YA e-books being purchased and the relatively low number of kids who claim to read e-books,’ said Kelly Gallagher, v-p of Bowker Market Research. ‘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.’
Indeed, 30% of respondents reported they were reading works in the Hunger Games series. But the remaining 70% of readers reported a vast variety of titles (over 220), only two of which commanded more than five percent of overall sales—Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and Breaking Dawn.
“Although bestsellers lead, there’s a long tail of rich reading that has interesting implications for the publishers of YA books in terms of discovery and consumer relationships,” said project editor Kristen McLean.” Read more here.
If you’re one of those grown-ups who read YA books: tell me why! I’m curious. I have a number of friends who do but I can’t quite fathom the appeal myself.