But the question is, aside from the reading nerds, are teens reading many books these days?
I think the honest answer to this question is "not really". There are definitely still TONS of reading nerds out there (I have a friend that buys so many
books on his kindle), but I think the general person doesn't do all that much reading.
I'll use myself as an example.
I grew up in the US education system and read all of the books on the required reading list. I even read plenty of books on the optional reading list. I was encouraged by my parents to read and write as often as possible, and this trend of voraciously consuming books continued through high school. When I reached college, however, my consumption of books took a nosedive. I was spending so much time studying that the last thing I wanted to do was read more
. So, I turned to more interactive entertainment (read: video games). There were exceptions, of course, but my reading never really picked back up. Even now, I read probably one or two books a year (not counting beta reads), which I know is a cardinal sin for writers. But I've come to a point where I'm insanely picky about what I read. Many of the books I was required
to read when I was younger were hard to get through, but we didn't have a choice in whether we wanted to read them. If the book was boring, I couldn't stop. I had to finish it. Now, however, if I find a book boring, or if the content doesn't draw me in, I stop reading. This is the reason why I stopped The Song of Ice and Fire (book 4 was a waste of paper) and the reason I couldn't get past the second book of The Wheel of Time series (FAR too much exposition).
I think this sentiment transfers to a lot of people my age. My wife reads - a mix of YA and adult fiction - but only occasionally. I have a friend who reads, but only one specific series
(because he's a fan). I have another friend that reads, but he consumes mainly hard sci-fi. The most recent book series he read was the Imperial Radch series by Anne Leckie. Before that, I think it was the Hyperion Cantos...
The point is that everyone
, but I'd be willing to bet that most of the media consumed these days consists of television and video games.
On a separate note (and I'm putting this here because I couldn't figure out where to fit it in above), I don't think that YA is dead. If it was, I doubt that there would be so many movies and television shows being developed from YA content. And I think it's also worth mentioning that movies and television can go a long way in spurring interest in the market as well. I mean, I've seen people pick up a YA book because it looked similar to something else that was already popular.