the road ahead

Twilight, Harry Potter, and books
December 21, 2008, 6:28 am
Filed under: business, ministry, spirituality

twilight-picHere is my latest question: Is it cool again to read as a teenager or is it a passing fad? The success of Twilight and earlier the Harry Potter series has raised the issue among some who study reading trends. Is there a rise and return to reading among the younger crowd?

A new Swedish publisher, Bombadli, has connected youth authors with youth readers, providing a linkage for the two groups to share and collaborate on the development of new stories to the market. This publisher believes that “young people read more than ever and want to have a greater say in and influence over what they read.”

They have created a new genre of material they call “fairasy,” which is a combination of fairy tales and fantasy in a new story form. The publisher believes that this connection between authors and readers will increase reading and writing for a new generation.

Do you agree? Considering the amazing successes of Twilight and Harry Potter, are these books appealing to a niched group or is there a change in reading habits among the young?


3 Comments so far
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I don’t think it is a change in readers, but a change in the industry itself. Really, I think kids will /always/ be inclined to read. The question is, is the market actually trying to cater to what they want?

What I’ve always noticed with books for young adults, is that they tend to be rather bland. They stick to the same ideas without really involving the readers. That’s why reading rates are going to go down at times; it’s the material, not the kids themselves. Look at what was released those years, that is what is going to be revealing.

Suddenly, authors are starting to realize that you play on fads, kids will /always/ read. If you look at both Twilight and Harry Potter, they have a few things in common. The first being that they are much more ‘adult’ than a lot of other books intended for younger audiences. That in and of itself is something that is definitely drawing readers in. Then they are both stiking cords of interest with their content, vampires being a very popular subject, and of course magic, which has always intrigued youth.

They are creating general interest, instead of just going on with the same old story. Kids will read, plain and simple. We may have movies and videogames, but those can only take up so much time. I think that is why people return to books; a lot more imagination is involved.

Comment by lucienlachance

It’s probably too soon to tell, but I think that eventually reading will become “cool” again for teenagers. I worked for a major book retailer for a few years, ending this past October, and the success of the Twilight and Harry Potter series definitely did seem to bring in the younger crowd looking for more titles. As soon as they were done with those series, they wanted suggestions on similar books to try — and then picked up those, and many others. New series geared specifically toward African American teenagers have also cropped up, as have more titles in the fantasy/science fiction realm. I certainly hope it keeps up!

Comment by Megan

I wish you’d included a link to a more thorough description of “fairasy” which, from your explanation sounds like something that’s been around a long time.

The Fairy Tales have lasted for centuries because they’re so compelling, and (probably because I’m writing one myself) I could rattle off a dozen titles without the help of Amazon– hundreds with.

I think it’s only natural for young adults to be drawn to the tale-based story, as most old stories are about “the quest” and seeking for identity, purpose and fulfillment: those things young people are beginning to seek for themselves.

Comment by Amy Jane (Untangling Tales)

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