Are Teens Embracing E-books?
The Digital Divide
By Karen Springen
Feb 20, 2012
As evidence, over the recent holiday season Barnes & Noble sold five times as many YA e-titles as print ones online, says Jim Hilt, VP of e-books for the chain. And at Amazon, there was a similar trend: “YA e-books are growing even faster than e-books overall in the Kindle Store,” Russ Grandinetti, v-p of Kindle Content, told PW in an e-mail.
As for the dreaded cannibalization of print, it does not appear to be happening in YA. “The whole pie grows,” says Hilt. “There’s a lot more evidence that users are going back and forth between digital and physical. People are now buying more books when they become digital readers. The key is to have the book available in all formats.”
Publishers are waiting for new statistics coming out at the end of this month from Ypulse, the youth market research group, but they expect to see more signs of growth in teen e-commerce. In its February 2011 study, the company found that 10.7% of 14–24-year-old students owned e-readers, and just 6% owned tablets. With Amazon selling a rumored six million Kindles over the recent holiday season, Melanie Shreffler, editor-in-chief of Ypulse, confidently says, “It definitely went up.”
Teenagers are a demographic perfectly poised to consume digital content. “They are on their devices all the time,” says Cristina Gilbert, executive director of trade marketing and publicity for Bloomsbury. “They’re so mobile, so digital. E-reading is an extension of how they live.” And they are already old hands at accessing digital content—downloading movies, TV shows, and music. “Getting book content online is a natural for teens,” says Andrew Smith, v-p and deputy publisher of Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.
And there is plenty of content out there. Hot print books—including Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight saga, Rick Riordan’s Lightning Thief series, and Suzanne Collins’s Hunger Games trilogy—have become hot e-books. “The category just has a massive, huge catalogue to sell from, so inherently it’s always going to sell more than what you’d see, say, in the picture book space,” says Hilt. (Unlike YA titles, picture books are almost exclusively bought by adults, who prefer print for the youngest of children.) “With big books, movie tie-ins, and more tech-savvy kids getting e-readers,” Hilt says, “it’s kind of a perfect storm.”(The three Hunger Games titles are among B&N’s top five bestselling e-books even before the March 23 release of what is expected to be a blockbuster movie.)
To read the complete article and to hear the opinions of many YA writers on the subject, visit Publishers Weekly at http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/childrens/childrens-industry-news/article/50707-are-teens-embracing-e-books-.html
Bestselling YA Titles in the Kindle Store
There are seven YA books in Kindle’s 100 top-selling e-books.
1. Twilight (Book 1) by Stephenie Meyer (#2 rank overall)
2. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (#3 rank overall)
3. Catching Fire (Hunger Games #2) by Suzanne Collins (#4 rank overall)
4. MockingJay (Hunger Games #3) by Suzanne Collins (#5 rank overall)
5. Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins (#7 rank overall)
6. The Borrowers by Mary Norton (#36 rank overall)
7. Breaking Dawn (Twilight #4) (#63 rank overall)