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SARATOGA SPRINGS — If you are an adult who loves to read young adult books, you are not alone. New insights from an ongoing biannual study, known as “Understanding the Children’s Book Consumer in the Digital Age,” states that 55 percent of the people who buy books classified as "young adult," intended for ages 12-17, are actually 18 and older.
Kelly Gallagher, vice president of Bowker Market Research, the company who conducts the research, said, “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.”
(Emily) Ellsworth said that she believes the "most creative and exciting work" is currently happening in young adult literature — and it's not all vampires and dystopian.
The researchers were surprised by the ages of the people buying YA books. They found that the largest segment of buyers is ages 30 to 44, a “group that alone accounted for 28 percent of YA sales.” But these adults are not buying these books for the teens in their lives — the study found that 78 percent of the time these adults purchase YA books for their own reading.
Why are so many adults reading books intended for teens? Emily Ellsworth, local successful YA book blogger said, “This study isn’t surprising at all to those of us ‘older folks’ that read and love young adult literature. There are a lot of things to love about YA books.”
Ellsworth said that she believes the “most creative and exciting work” is currently happening in young adult literature — and it’s not all vampires and dystopian.
“YA is blowing it out of the water in historical fiction, and fantasy in YA is creative," Ellsworth said. "There are so many thought-provoking and incredibly well-written books."
Adults also enjoy the ease of reading that YA often offers. Jana Williams, a mother of five, said she loves reading YA books.
“The books are shorter and easy to read, which is perfect for my crazy, busy life," she said. "Also, I like to know what my kids will be reading in the near future. I can easily recommend good books to them.”
A short list of young adult books to check out:
- "Shadow and Bone" by Leigh Bardugo (fantasy)
- "The Fault in Our Stars" by John Green (teens battling cancer)
- "Between Shades of Gray" by Ruta Sepetys (historical fiction)
- "After Hello" by Lisa Mangum (clean romance)
- "The Maze Runner" by James Dashner (thriller)
- "Divergent" by Veronica Roth (dystopian)
I also read and love young adult fiction. I read from a lot of different genres for all age groups and consistently come across amazing books published in the YA category. From the perfect reality escape to smoldering romance to serious social issues, YA has it all, and these books deserve a broad audience.
As an author of YA fiction, I’m excited that my books will be read by adults as well as teens. In fact, knowing this trend is so powerful, I write my books in such a way that readers can enjoy it whether they are 14, 25 or 53.
Most current YA authors are doing the same thing. Our main characters may be young, but we hope anyone, no matter age, can enjoy our stories.
Many attribute this shift in readership to the success of the “Harry Potter,” “Twilight” and “Hunger Games” series, but many YA titles are making adult to-be-read lists.
The Bowker study said, “30 percent of respondents reported they were reading works in the ‘Hunger Games’ series. But the remaining 70 percent of readers reported a vast variety of titles (more than 220), only two of which commanded more than 5 percent of overall sales — 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows' and 'Breaking Dawn.'"
This trend is great news for publishers of young adult books, as “these adult consumers are among the most coveted demographic of book consumers overall.” But it is also great news for readers of YA because there will continue to be a lot of high-quality books available.
So, adults, next time you’re in the market for a great read, wander over to the young adult section, where you’ll find fresh, exciting, well-written books. You're never too old to read YA.
Are you an adult-young-adult reader? Share your favorite YA read with other readers on my Facebook page or the KSL comment page.
*Teri Harman, author and book enthusiast, writes a bi-weekly column, Book Matters, for ksl.com and also contributes a monthly book segment to Studio 5. Her debut novel, "Blood Moon," comes out June 22, 2013. For more book fun, visit book- matters.com**