Young Adult books dominate 2014

Young Adult books dominate 2014

There used to be a lot of concern expressed that young people didn’t read as, say, Baby Boomers did.

Well, it certainly seems like that has turned around!

Amazon lists the

Bestselling USA Kindle store books of 2014 (so far) (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

The top tier of that list is dominated by Young Adult books.

Of course, a reasonable argument could be made that maybe it is boomers who are reading these books, and not really young people.

My guess is that it is both…but that young people really are reading more than they did ten years ago.

In part, I credit e-books with that.

One thing is the convenience, sure. Young people are probably more comfortable reading on phones (although the phone screens are getting bigger).

I think another thing may be the way that you don’t have to broadcast what you  are reading…or even that you are reading.

I don’t think I ever hid what I read…but I took some teasing for all the reading I did (it was certainly worth it). 😉

With a tablet or a phone, you could be doing something more “socially acceptable”, and no one would know.

I would hope that, perhaps, reading itself is becoming more socially  acceptable  in tweens and teens…and again, that would be my guess.

Anecdotally, I see young people referencing books.

It may not hurt that a lot of the Young Adult books are also being made into movies, but I don’t think that’s all of it.

Books may sometimes give the island of solitude to which “always connected” people may want to vacation…even if it’s a brief stopover. 😉

Here are the top 20:

Rank Title Author YA? Reviews Stars Movie/TV?
1 The Fault in Our Stars Green Y 31,153 4.7 Y
2 Divergent Roth Y 17,990 4.5 Y
3 The Goldfinch Tartt N 16,064 3.7 N
4 Insurgent Roth Y 11,285 4.5 N
5 Allegiant Roth Y 14,111 3.4 N
6 The Husband’s Secret Moriarty N 11,679 4.3 N
7 Gone Girl Flynn N 22,846 3.8 Y
8 If I Stay Forman Y 3,439 4.2 Y
9 Orphan Train Kline N 9,875 4.6 N
10 The Fixed Trilogy Paige N 4,157 4.6 N
11 The Divergent Series Roth Y 4,598 4.3 Y
12 Sycamore Row Grisham N 14,077 4.5 N
13 The Target Baldacci N 3,276 4.3 N
14 The Rosie Project Simsion N 5,426 4.5 N
15 Outlander Gabaldon N 6,633 4.5 Y
16 Top Secret Twenty-One Evanovich N 2,824 4.3 N
17 The Book Thief Zusak Y 14,016 4.6 Y
18 Unlucky 13 Patterson N 2,584 4.4 N
19 The Maze Runner Dashner Y 3,932 4.3 Y
20 The Invention of Wings Kidd N 6,332 4.6 N

Eight of the top twenty are Young Adult (as I interpret the publisher’s classifications which appear on the book’s Amaozn product page).

That’s not the majority…but Amazon lists 78,844 teen and Young Adult books out of 2,864,659 total at time of writing. That’s only about three percent of the total, so if there was an even distribution, we would expect Young Adult books to be maybe one of the top twenty.

When we look at the rankings, it’s even more obvious. Lower is better when it comes to rankings (being #1 is better than being #20), and the YA titles have an average of 8.4 while the non-YAs have an average of 12.

Let’s say we cut it down to just the top five. In that case, four out of five are YA.

I think that we’ll see a significant change in Kindle bestseller rankings next year, thanks to

Kindle Unlimited (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

My guess is that KU (Amazon’s subser…subscription service) is going to noticeably change the market share for Kindle store bestsellers. Maybe not the New York Times bestseller lists (where physical books will still have the biggest impact), but USA Kindle store? Yes, I think that’s likely.

What do you think? Are young people reading more? Could it be that the relative numbers have shifted because older people are perhaps reading less? If we took away the impact of movies on e-b0ok sales, would that cause a big shift? Do you cross the classification boundaries to read Young Adult books when you don’t fall into that demographic? Feel free to let me and my readers know what you think by commenting on this post.

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* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.


5 Responses to “Young Adult books dominate 2014”

  1. Karin Says:

    I’ve been following a section of called Booktube. Book reviewers are making videos about the books they read. Most of these reviewers seem to be between the ages of 18 – 25. They talk about the books they bought, read, and even about the cover art. These booktubers seem to be popular, with lots of followers ( some over 10,000).

    Many of the books read are young adult, but I see a lot classics being read (The Great Gatsby for instance), and other “adult” titles. It is very encouraging to see.

    Many, if not all of the video reviewers are posting their ratings on

    Publishers are taking note, because they are sending free copies to the reviewers for an honest review.

  2. Edward Boyhan Says:

    I’m either the last of the war babies, or the first of the boomers (:grin). I find myself reading a lot of YA titles, and I have to say in many ways I like them better than more mainstream stuff (I particularly like coming of age stories). Don’t know whether that’s true of my age cohort generally, or just my own youthful regressions.

    Of the top 20 list you posted: I’ve read none of them, and have no plans to read any of them.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Edward!

      It certainly may be that many of these books are being read by older folks. I enjoyed The Hunger Games, and of course, there was a time when much of science fiction (including Heinlein) was classified as “juvenile” (that was the more likely term then).

  3. Anne Says:

    I do not really read YA, but I did read the Twilight series and I enjoyed it as light, fun reading, not a FANatic, just a guilty pleasure–I would not recommend this to an adult. I do know of a girl who chose to go to college in the PNW because of the books. I suspect a lot of adults read the YA books, though, which is helping the charts. Note four of the books, 3 in top 5 are the Divergent series. But if the movies inspire young readers that is great, Twilight was much better than the movie, as is often/usually the case.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Anne!

      I haven’t read Twilight, but may at some point.

      It’s funny…I suspect if someone said that they wanted to live in Ireland because they read Joyce, or Monterey because they read Hemingway, it would be considered respectable…but many folks might think going to the Pacific Northwest because of Twilight “silly”. 😉

      Lots of things can inspire reading a book, and movies certainly are good promoters of literacy (again, something that might have been dismissed by some people at times). I think many people read the classics because they read the Illustrated Classics comic books, for example.

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