Published in www.nypost.com.
Evidently, we don’t want to grow up.
Adults — not young adults — are largely reading YA books, designated for kids 12 to 17, according to a recent report.
Bowker Market Research has released a new study that finds that 55 percent of buyers of YA books are adults, with the largest segment of buyers being adults ages 30 to 44.
Seventy-eight percent of these adults are reportedly purchasing YA novels for their personal reading pleasure — not for their kids.
This crossover is no doubt contributing to the fact that the Children’s/YA category of publishers’ net revenue displayed the most rapid growth, reaching $2.78 billion, up from $2.48 billion, according to the BookStats’ 2012 annual survey.
“I think we live largely in a YA culture — you can see it in everything from the success of ‘Hunger Games’ and ‘The Avengers’ to the ubiquity of ‘Call Me Maybe,’’’says David Levithan, vice president, publisher and editorial director at Scholastic.
“Adults don’t really distinguish it as separate anymore,” he adds.
In fact, the Bowker study found that of adults ages 19 to 29 who read YA fiction, 32 percent responded “very true” to the proposition that they now “have a greater ability to read more of the titles that [they] didn’t have time for in [their] teens.”
Notoriously, e-books are how adults are consuming E.L. James’ “Fifty Shades of Grey” — but could e-books also be partly responsible for the widespread readership of YA novels by adults?
Levithan notes, “E-books have greatly added to the [YA] audience — not so much because teens have the devices, but because adults have not hesitated to buy YA and call it their own.”
Even this past week, Suzanne Collins’ novels “Mockingjay,” “Catching Fire” and “Hunger Games” ranked Nos. 8, 9 and 12 on USA Today’s Best-Selling Book List, despite the fact that each of these novels is at least 2 years old.
In addition, “other crossover titles (from authors like Maggie Stiefvater, Markus Zusak, Meg Cabot) have certainly anchored adults’ reading of YA,” Levithan says.
He continues, “There’s also the Harry Potter effect — namely, that the kids who were the first wave of readers to be hooked on Harry Potter became the cause of the YA boom, and now are in their 20s.”
Instead of turning to adult novels as they get older, such readers continue to indulge in these oftentimes quicker, easier reads that still maintain great storylines.