I spent much of last week at the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention in downtown LA. It was, as one would expect, delightful. I won’t bore you with all of the details of the conference. Suffice to say it’s thrilling to spend time surrounded by dozens of bestselling authors; the Mr. Romance pageant was cheesetastic fun; and Bottega Louie has amazing éclairs.
The most heartening aspect of the event for me was the massive Sunday book fair which then rolled into “Teen Day,” a separate event with the RT young adult authors being led through a day of activities from reading selected short pieces to rotating through groups of teen readers for chats. Authors seem so much more accessible than they ever did to me as a teen. While I’m sure there were author tours and events when I was a teenager, the reach of information via author sites and outreach and the scope of the events themselves seems ever greater. I don’t think I ever even thought about writing to an author. They seemed like distant, near mythical beings. Working in publishing divested me of that feeling pretty quickly! I kid, I kid. The point is, from the outside, it appears that teens are much more engaged in the reading process than they ever were before.
Maybe because I’m a ridiculous optimist about publishing in general, but given the growth of the young adult market and the fact that there is a generation raised on blockbusters like Harry Potter and Twilight, I have a completely unscientific hunch that reading is becoming a more popular pastime then it was when I had my nose buried in Fear Street and that there will thus be more adult readers in the next generation than my own produced.
What do we think? Are there going to be more readers buying books in the coming years? Is there job security in publishing after all? ARE the children our future?