Publisher’s Weekly reports that a new study reveals that 55% of the people buying Young Adult (YA) books, written with youngsters from 12 to 17 in mind, are bought by older readers. The biggest group of adult buyers are aged from 30 to 44.
Are they buying them for their kids or siblings? Most of the time, no. The survey by Bowker Market Research shows that 78% are buying these books for themselves.
The results are somewhat skewed by success of the Hunger Games series, but even allowing for that, this is a growing phenomenon. It’s also a rare bit of good news for publishers because the study also reveals these readers tend to be early adopters and are socially active, meaning that they probably recommend the books they like to their friends.
One implication is that if you are writing a YA novel, don't limit your marketing of it to that younger age group. You could even follow the lead of publishers who put out the same book with one cover to appeal to younger readers and another one to appeal to adults...for instance, not only could you have two covers, but you might even have two different websites. When reaching adults you'd put in a link to the website geared to adults, when reaching kids you'd link to the one geared to them.