The World Is Complex: Teens Buying More Books

In a direct challenge to the conventional wisdom (spotted via TechDirt and O’Reilly) the SeattlePI declares that we are now in a “golden age” of reading and literature for teens. What? Yes, apparently teens are buying and presumably reading books at higher rates than in many many decades:

“Kids are buying books in quantities we’ve never seen before,” said Booklist magazine critic Michael Cart, a leading authority on young adult literature. “And publishers are courting young adults in ways we haven’t seen since the 1940s.”

Credit a bulging teen population, a surge of global talent and perhaps a bit of Harry Potter afterglow as the preteen Muggles of yesteryear carry an ingrained reading habit into later adolescence.

Not only are teen book sales booming — up by a quarter between 1999 and 2005, by one industry analysis — but the quality is soaring as well. Older teens in particular are enjoying a surge of sophisticated fare as young adult literature becomes a global phenomenon.

This despite MySpace, raunchy and violent pop culture, video games, etc. As this evidence suggests, the world is more complicated than we tend to imagine in our simple cause and effect thinking. And things never quite turn out as expected.

5 Responses to “The World Is Complex: Teens Buying More Books”

  1. Reader Scott Says:

    This is odd. I would think that TV would continue to eliminate reading from the world. It’s good though!

    You might like the Book & Reading Forums.

  2. Howard Owens Says:

    Before the web, you sat in front the TV and passively consumed media.

    In the Internet era, one must be literate, even if your communication consists largely of “brb” and “ltr,” etc.

    The web demands more reading.

    It demands, like a good book, more active participation.

    While this report is surprising, I think it’s understandable.

  3. howardowens.com: media blog » Blog Archive » Teens reading more books, probably because these days, they have to read more Says:

    […] response to a post by Greg Sterling about teens reading more books, I left this comment: Before the web, you sat in front the TV and passively consumed […]

  4. Linda Aksomitis Says:

    I teach children’s literature — I suspect one of the reasons teens are reading more is the result of the Harry Potter craze. The key reason is that the industry learned that promoting to kids took creativity and looking at the world from their point of view, so we learned a lot about making reading as fun and exciting as the other activities in their lives, like video games, etc.

  5. Niche Generator Says:

    It’s about time teens start embracing their intellectuality more.

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