Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Speculation

A brief thought: Several agents, authors, and even a couple of editors whose blogs I read, have wondered aloud why Young Adult fiction is suddenly so popular. In fact, there is a debut author out there who signed a seven figure contract for a young adult series. That's almost unheard of these days, especially for a debut author, and especially with books that cost between 5%-15% less than normal books. (I think my numbers are correct.)

Here's my theory: E-books are becoming very popular, but publishers don't make as much money from e-books as they do from print. The numbers for authors are a bit fuzzier (agents can give you more solid numbers, and if any of you know them, please post them in the comments). The problem with e-books is that the devices used to read them are expensive. And the books themselves cost (typically) $9.99. Most mass market paperbacks cost between $6.99 and $8.99. At the end of the day, teenagers and children don't have enough money to buy e-readers, and since their books are cheaper in print anyway (in mass market they're about the same price regardless of the age they're marketed to), they can afford to buy more "analogue" books that they can keep on a shelf, lend out to friends, re-gift and re-read without worrying about losing a $100+ e-reader.

In short, young adults can afford to buy more printed books because they can't afford to buy e-readers.

2 comments:

  1. I never thought about it that way, but it would make sense why the market could be more liquid in that direction...
    I also think there are a lot of people older than the teen demographic buying the YA stuff. Look at all the writers (including myself) that like to write YA. We also all voraciously buy YA too. And we writers, I think, are the tip of the iceberg.

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  2. There was an essay I read recently written in the 70s about how fantasy (and a lot of fiction for that matter) was taboo back then. I think as our culture swings back from that it does so youth first. Also a lot of us 20-30 somethings are enjoying them too.

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