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Gen Y: the most book-loving generation alive?

17 August 2012

From The Christian Science Monitor:

So much for Gen Y stereotypes. Turns out they aren’t sun-deprived geeks sitting alone in the basement, with only a controller, joystick, or keyboard, and the final level of Skyrim to keep them company.

There’s a pile of books next to the game console, too.

Believe it or not, Generation Y might just be the most bibliophilic generation alive, according to a new consumer study. Gen Y – those born between 1979 and 1989 – spent the most money on books in 2011, knocking the longtime book-buying leaders, baby boomers, from the top spot, according to the 2012 U.S. Book Consumer Demographics and Buying Behaviors Annual Review.

. . . .

[B]aby boomers’ share of book expenditures fell from 30 percent in 2010 to 25 percent in 2011, while Gen Y’s expenditure grew from 24 percent in 2010 to 30 percent in 2011 – a near-mirror-image swap. Not as surprising, about 43 percent of Gen Y’s purchases are geared toward online book buying, ”adding momentum to the industry shift to digital,” according to the report.

Link to the rest at The Christian Science Monitor and thanks to Louisa for the tip.

Books in General

19 Comments to “Gen Y: the most book-loving generation alive?”

  1. *twiddles thumbs*

    So it’s not odd that I and most of my friends spend a lot of our spending money on books. Good to know. :)

  2. How do they know how old we are when we buy books? It’s all a bit spooky if you ask me. But very pleased to see the art of reading is very far from dead.

  3. Boomer’s book money is being spent paying off Gen-Y’s college loans… :)

    • Zingo, Seeley.

    • That (last kid not out of college yet) – and the simple fact that we boomers are seeing retirement right around the corner (if not there already) and wondering where the money is going to come from for major things like housing, eating, and medical care.

      Plus the perennial: getting rid of the junk accumulated during a lifetime of career and kids.

      We consider our purchases a bit more – especially if we have the time to do so. And wonder where we’re going to put the latest addition to the ‘family.’

  4. I think this correlates highly with the other article you posted: The Hunger Games is a huge seller, just like Harry Potter was before it.

    Generation Y grew up thinking that books were cool. All their friends were reading and talking about these amazing and interesting books, so they wanted to read them too. But one series wasn’t enough. They needed more books! Ta-da! A generation of readers.

    Hugs and kisses to Ms. Rowling and Ms. Collins. Thank you for making reading cool.

    • Gen Y wasn’t the “grew up reading Harry Potter” kids, they are the older kids reading Harry Potter. As they would mostly have been in High School and College when the books came out. Z’s (or I’s for internet) were the “grew up reading Harry Potter” kids.

      Of course that only means that EVEN more book readers are coming down the pipe.

  5. I suspect the advent of the internet had a lot to do Kids Today reading more.

    Before the internet, recent youth culture revolved around telephone, music and TV. None of which are a written medium. Now with Twitter and texting and blogs and Facebook, people are using the written word for basic ordinary communication again. More, perhaps, than ever.

    I just think about how, when we’re trying to get a hold of someone, the student aides won’t call them, they’ll post in their Facebook wall.

    This affects more than the younger generation of course, but they are the most comfortable with it and oriented to it.

    • I remember my dad trying to play my Nintendo 64. He sucked big time (He managed to get better at gaming by the time the family got a PS1.) Nowadays, I tweet him if I need to talk to him. It’s the same for my brothers as well. The old man is an honorary Gen-Y-er.

      Weird thing is that he’s better at the whole social networking thing and has tons more friends than me. He’s always going out and dragging mum with him to some new friends’ house or creating meet ups down at his favorite haunt. I thinik the Y Gen thing is a learned skill in a way.

      He’s about ~70ish by the way (his age is top secret, lol.) Looks about 50 though. Must be all that running around and surfing (his most recent hobby [eyeroll])

  6. I wonder how many of them are writing and putting up stories on KDP?

    • Some. I frequent the KB, KDP-C, among other places and I’ve heard a few people mention things that put them in that age group. I think the majority would be 30-50 though. Ex-midlisters and people with ‘a book’ hidden away*. I am guessing, but the 50-70 group would be less as they are probably much more invested in traditional publishing and are earning a living there. I think this group will eventually become the dominant group as the new school ages and the old school joins the fray*.

      * I’m just a guy who always wanted to write a book then I wrote lots. Low % person, maybe?
      * Harlequin romance writers jumping ship perhaps.

      • A lot of Gen Y folks are probably skipping KDP and going with more social media oriented venues — Kickstarter, wattpad, and other things old-ladies like me have never heard of.

  7. Bemused. All the Gen Ys I know are pretty active. What % of people of do you know that actually sit around playing video games. That was my generation, lol. The next few gens have been pretty awesome in my opinion about everything. More communicative, creative, fun to be around, and so on. I generally think young people are doing a fantastic job of life and that’s even considering that life is much more busy (perhaps harder? I’m not sure.)

  8. As the article mentions, I think it’s purely an e-reader thing. Getting an e-reader gives you unprecedented access to books. You can buy them quickly, easily and efficiently. Thus, you can spend much more money.

    Some Boomers are still wondering whether they can handle the technology of e-books. I get asked at least once a week. I assure them it’s easy.

    I’m spreading the word.

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