Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Book Sales Are Flat Except for Teen Books

Have you heard what Newsweek is calling today's teens? Well, they are using the encouraging term "Generation R" (R is for reader) to describe them because that generation seems to be responding well to the boom in the number of new Young Adult fiction books that are being published these days. According to Newsweek, sales in YA fiction have risen 25% in the last few years. We should probably confess to Newsweek that we are buying and enjoying some of the titles ourselves, but this is nice to see.
"This is the second golden age for young-adult books," says David Levithan, an acclaimed author of several young-adult novels ("Wide Awake," "Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist") and executive editorial director at Scholastic Inc., the world's largest publisher and distributor of books for kids and teens. In just the past few years, Scholastic and many other publishers of young-adult (also known as YA) fiction have seen "amazing success," says Levithan, who calls this the "most exciting time for young-adult literature since the late 1960s and 1970s when 'The Chocolate War' [by Robert Cormier] and 'Forever' [by Judy Blume] were published."

Levithan and others cite several reasons for this perfect storm for teen lit, the most obvious two being the increasing sophistication and emotional maturity of teenagers and the accompanying new freedom for writers in the genre to explore virtually any subject. Another is that bookstores and libraries are finally recognizing this niche and separating teen books from children's books. "Teenagers don't want to walk past the Curious George books to get to their books.
This is an interesting three-page article; read the whole thing via the link, if you're interested.
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