Aug 05 2009

Teen literature is selling quite well…

The Motley Fool reports

But what began with Harry and Hogwarts has grown into something more. Teen literature is hot. Estimates suggest the category will generate $744.3 million in revenues for U.S. publishers this year, up 13% from $659.1 million in 2008. In comparison, book retailing in general is slumping, with revenue expected to fall nearly 5% from a year ago.

Instead of trying to grab kids’ eyes as they rush past the book stacks toward the movies and music, Borders is creating an in-store boutique called Borders Ink, featuring graphic novels, manga (Japan’s homegrown style of comics), vampires, and, of course, wizards. It hopes to have as many as 90% of its superstores featuring the teen reading section by the end of the month.

This is encouraging. First, more readers generally means that publishers will have more room to take on more authors in this field. Second, diversifying comic book sales beyond comic-book stores is extremely important.  That’s especially true if you want to write for demographics that are far more likely to visit a bookstore than a comic-book store– like women, children/parents, first-time comic book readers, etc.

13 responses so far

13 Responses to “Teen literature is selling quite well…”

  1. Tomon 05 Aug 2009 at 10:20 am

    ‘Bibliophiles might turn up their noses at the notion of calling graphic novels “literature,”‘

    Pfft… snobs.

  2. B. Macon 05 Aug 2009 at 10:53 am

    Ehh. I don’t think that most superhero stories (or action in general) can accurately be described as literature. And that’s fine! Most of what people read is not literature. (I mean, just check the last 10 websites in your Recent History tab).

    I don’t think it’s important to impute gravitas to works that don’t particularly need it. Indeed, prospective readers might regard it as pretentious if an author puts on an air of seriousness.

  3. Contra Gloveon 05 Aug 2009 at 1:36 pm

    @ B. Mac

    I agree. One doesn’t need to define literature down to justify reading non-literature purely for enjoyment.

  4. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 06 Aug 2009 at 3:12 am

    Yay! I love teen literature.

    ‘Bibliophiles might turn up their noses at the notion of calling graphic novels “literature…”

    Yeah, well some bibliophiles are stupid. A graphic novel still counts, and can have as good a plotline as any novel. Manga volumes are generally not self contained, but as a series many could be considered literature. I, for one, consider Death Note to be literature.

    Why? Because the plot is so intriguing and complicated, yet it all works out in the end. The Death Note has rules that Light, the MC, manipulates into working for him, including a very intelligent idea to get the name of the FBI agent who was stalking him. He throws off the suspicion of the world’s greatest detective, once again by using the rules to his advantage.

    Then there are the numerous ways in which it makes me think. If I had the power to kill anyone simply by knowing their name and face, would I use that power to kill all criminals and bring world peace, or would I throw the Death Note away? Would I be willing to murder someone, even the most evil person on Earth? Is Light right in his judgement, should criminals be killed? Or is L right?

    I love to ponder these questions. Tsugumi Ohba has created the best thing I have ever read, and I hope she (or he, but I think it’s a she) writes more things as good as Death Note. A sequel series would be good!

    Anyone who says a graphic novel can’t be literature isn’t open-minded enough. Literature can be in any form, even in glitter glued to paper to make words, and sloppily stapled together.

  5. Tomon 06 Aug 2009 at 4:11 am

    Oh God Death Note. I just watched the anime version. By the final episode I was hopelessly lost. Soooooooooo confusing. But so good.

  6. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 06 Aug 2009 at 4:31 am

    Unlike most anime, Death Note is exactly like the manga, probably because any other way of creating it would have stuffed up the entire thing and it wouldn’t have made sense.

    I had trouble understanding it at several points, but by the end I was like “Ohh. So that’s why (such and such) happened”. Death Note is one of those rare things that have no plot holes in sight. My brother has asked me for clarification on lots of points and I am always able to explain why the characters didn’t think to do something, because the rules of the Death Note mean that they can’t.

    Death Note rocks. No argument. Haha. I thought the concept was stupid at first. “Notebooks that kill people? Come on!” But when a friend began to read it I decided to check it out, and was unable to stop. Haha. I have, to date, spent AU$377 on Death Note related items, including the manga, anime, encyclopedia, and movies. I am an otaku, hear me argue about whether Light or L is cooler! Haha.

    Another series I would count as literature is The Dreaming by Queenie Chan. It’s so good, with a creepy plot not unlike the mood of Death Note, and with lots of supernatural happenings in an Australian boarding school.

    If you ask me, Australia is one of the best places to set a creepy story. With the isolated bushland, stories of executed criminals, ancestral spirits, all the people who disappear and the emptiness of the open spaces, Australia is creepy in a beautiful way. It’s one of the reasons I admire it. I also love the song “I Am Australian”, because it makes me think of what it means to be Aussie. God, I love this country. Haha. Sorry, I got a little patriotic there. But yeah. Australia is creepy, especially at night. It’s a magical place teeming with supernatural forces.

    I think Harry Potter would also count as literature, and possibly Goodnight Mister Tom, which never fails to make me cry.

  7. B. Macon 06 Aug 2009 at 1:12 pm

    According to Newsweek, the US Military Academy (West Point) made Persepolis a graduation requirement.

  8. Beccaon 10 Aug 2009 at 11:48 pm

    Teen literature has been so hot where I come from for quite some time now. Every bookstore has a giant teen lit section. While I read almost exclusively adult literature, what I write is probably aimed at teens, so this whole boom is *yay* for me.

  9. Wingson 17 Aug 2009 at 8:41 am

    However, the actual BOOKS that are popular leave much to be desired.

    FLASHBACK

    *at borders outlet*

    Me: No manga section? No MANGA section!?!

    *browsing teen books*

    Me: Every frickin’ thing is about vampires! *starts whacking self in head with Eclipse* Kill me now, Stephanie Meyer!

    END FLASHBACK

    And what is up with the titles? Here’s a sampling:

    One Dead Twice Shy (Halfway decent, but I didn’t grasp the meaning easily)

    Chosen (Why the heck do I care again?)

    TWILIGHT (Don’t. Get. Me. Started.)

    Identical (Care I should why?)

    Watch The Skies (Okay, this was James Patterson, master of the uninforing titles but well known. I’ll let it slide)

    Everything I know is a lie!

    I mean, let me look at some of the titles of bestselling books thus far.

    Eragon (What the hell is an Eragon?)

    Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone (In my opinion this book was great as soon as you opened it, but why should we open it? The writing was great though)

    TWILIGHT (*has a heart attack* Why the F*** do we care!)

    Apologies for my language,

    – Wings

  10. Chihuahua0on 24 Jul 2011 at 7:32 am

    I’m thinking of creating a career out of writing Young Adult literature since it has the largest literature demographic out there. While most Adult literature is aimed at only one age group (and gender), YA literature aims for both genders between 12-18, but adults read it too. And with sucesses like Harry Potter, Twilight, and The Hunger Games, there is plenty of room to go mainstream.

    And I love that there’s a manga section in my Borders now. Four whole shelves are filled with it. My Barnes and Nobles, however…

  11. Castilleon 24 Jul 2011 at 1:19 pm

    All of the Borders everywhere are closing now…. 🙁

  12. invader-mynaon 24 Jul 2011 at 2:12 pm

    Yeah, ours is closing by September. I went there today and the place was a madhouse, people cashing in on deals. The shelves were wrecks and there were books on the floor and everything, it sucks.

  13. ekimmakon 24 Jul 2011 at 4:12 pm

    My local Borders closed down. Apparently, there weren’t enough people buying books to justify it being open. And for some reason, the smaller bookstore also closed down. So now I have to get everything off book depositry.

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