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Thread: Where do YA under 18 readers get books?

  1. #1
    Cultus Gopherus MacAllister Medievalist's Avatar
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    Feb 2005
    An meodoheall monig dreama full

    Where do YA under 18 readers get books?

    I've been thinking about this a lot lately, from a number of angles, including library closings, book store closings, and ebooks. Where are YA readers from c. 10 to 17 getting books?

    1. I used to sometimes (depending on finances) be able to buy books from the Scholastic Book club pamphlets at school. Back in the dark ages, in 1976, that's how I got S. E. Hinton books. Does this exist still?

    2. My local library to this day does not have a YA area, shelves, or book lists. YA books are mixed between the Adult fiction shelves, and the "Childrens' room." I've never seen anyone between the ages of 10 and 20 in that room who wasn't staff.

    3. I swapped books all the time with other kids. Does this stil happen? Granted, at least half the books were . . . umm, not age appropriate. No, really, don't ask; you'd be shocked . . .

    4. Ebooks—does anyone personally know someone between 10 and 18 who buys/reads ebooks?

    Where are YA readers between 10 and 18 getting books?
    Last edited by Medievalist; 12-08-2012 at 10:00 PM.

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  2. #2
    practical experience, FTW Dreity's Avatar
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    Dec 2011
    Upstate NY
    When I was about 12 I announced to my immediate and extended family that I no longer wanted clothes for Christmas and birthdays, and could I please get books instead. So that was my main source until I left home. My aunts would occasionally take me book shopping on non gift giving occasions as well. They developed a good sense of what I liked, and I can't think of any books from them that I haven't enjoyed. Anything else I got from the library, which luckily had a great YA section, which I miss dearly.

    When I got my first job at 16 I basically just deposited my check into a savings account and forgot about it. Independent though I was, I'm not sure it ever occurred to me to buy my own books. E-readers weren't really a thing yet, so that wasn't a variable.

  3. #3
    practical experience, FTW
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    Feb 2009
    Northern AZ
    1. Yup, Scholastic still has book orders. I look through the ones my brother gets sometimes, to see what books they have in there nowadays. Most schools also have book fairs.

    2. My library is small but I usually see a few teens go in and out of the YA room while I'm there, especially during the summer. My brother and his friends use their school library a lot, too. And when I lived in a large city, there were always teens in the YA section at the library branch I frequented.

    3. Probably depends on the kid. I rarely swapped books with anyone, because I didn't want to part with them.

    4. My brother's read a few ebooks, but they were my mom's. He's talked about asking for a gift card so he can get a few for his iPod touch, though. And some of his friends have asked for e-readers for Christmas, or already read ebooks on their phones.

  4. #4
    late to the party ladybritches's Avatar
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    Jul 2011
    I'm in a rural area, so things might be different here than in the cities, but the teens I know buy books through scholastic up until about 8th grade. I don't think it's available for the older students. In high school they borrow from either the school or the public library, and swap with their friends. My own kids spent birthday and Christmas money at Barnes & Noble, and they often got books as gifts. So did their friends.

    My daughter's college roommate had a Sony e-reader, but she's the only teenager I know who has one. We're poor though, and so are all our friends.

    Edit: Our school had a book fair every year too. We always enjoyed that.

  5. #5
    practical experience, FTW
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    Jan 2011
    17 years for me was 6 years ago :/... I never used the library because I lost my library card.. I used to buy from scholastic up until the fourth harry potter book came out, then they stopped doing it or the new school didn't do it. Can't remember what.

    I was a big Stephen King reader...I used Amazon, Waterstones and WH Smiths to get my books.

    Sometimes local independents. The Teen reads section wasn't like it was now, it was called Children's Books. Ebooks weren't popular when I was growing up in the early to mid 2000s.

    I don't think they were much over here until the last 5 years :/?

  6. #6
    figuring it all out
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    I was a big fan of the school library, not only as a place to get books but also as a place to hide. I also bought a lot of books in charity shops and once came home from a car-boot sale with a box of 30 goosebumps books.

  7. #7
    avem narrans lastlittlebird's Avatar
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    Aug 2009
    There would be very few, if any, libraries in NZ now that don't have a pretty good YA section. They were mostly already there when I was a teen as well (about a dozen years ago).
    I remember in one town I was disgusted that you had to pay a dollar to get out an "adult" book, but the YA section was free.
    I also read a lot of the books my extended family had lying around from when they were kids. And I used my school libraries.
    And I generally had adults buy me books or used my allowance... book sales were always a blessing and I still think wistfully of the secondhand bookstore in a different town that rarely charged more than a dollar for anything.
    My sister was a bookworm too, so we pooled our collections to some extent.

    I can't throw away books, and I've already loaned out stacks of mine (well, given, really) to one of my young cousins, so I guess tradition will carry on.
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  8. #8
    It was only 2 years ago for me and mostly Amazon. I'd get quite a lot for Christmas too and sometimes from the book shop, though they were the most expensive option reserved for when I really wanted something and right away. I stopped using the library when I was about 14 because I was terrible at returning things on time and ran up such huge fines that in the end it would have been cheaper to buy the book off Amazon anyway...I did use the school library sporadically too.

    I'm 19 now and mostly buy off Amazon, and rarely, from the book shop. I only really get public domain stuff on my kindle because they're cheap, otherwise I prefer real books. Most teens I know are the same, especially those who are avid readers.
    "It all came rushing at me. One book led to the next. It was a joy. Words weren't dull, words were things that could make your mind hum. If you read them and let yourself feel the magic, you could live without pain, with hope, no matter what happened to you."
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  9. #9
    phoenix blazing Parametric's Avatar
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    Sep 2007
    Bristol, England
    When I was on the younger end of that age range, my parents took me to the local library every other weekend, but like Dreity, my main source of books was as gifts. I only ever asked for books, so I'd hand over a list of books and everybody would buy from it. Plus I read a lot of long-running serieseses, so my parents would grab the latest Discworld for me when it came out.

  10. #10
    practical experience, FTW bobcat22's Avatar
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    May 2009
    Boston (now Cleveland)
    If you have a good school library (like my school does!), kids check out books there. But we're very lucky and fortunate to have the money to buy current titles as they come out.

    Or if they have a good teacher, a teacher will often use their own money to buy books for a classroom library.

    My students will sometimes get their parents to buy books. A lot of them say that if they ask for a book, their parents will be surprised and buy them it (ugh! But I guess that's also good!).

    I have very few students with e-readers.
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  11. #11
    Have Harp Will Travel JSSchley's Avatar
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    May 2010
    in ur B&N...facin out AWers bookz...
    On ebook observations:
    Anecdotally, about 1 out of 20 nooks that I sell in any given period is intended for someone under 18, with about 2/3 of those being middle grade/YA readers.

    My nephew, who is 9, got a Kindle Fire for his last birthday.

    The big gap right now is that kid's ebooks tend to cost very close to their print counterparts, and there aren't very many e-only publishers for YA and middle grade, which means there aren't very many ebook deals to be had. So many parents, wary of having another gadget around, simply opt for keeping their kids reading paper.

    I've had many parents complain that their fast readers read even faster on their nooks, so the total being spent on books goes up even faster. This is why one of my biggest pieces of advice to people who self-publish is to join some sort of author collective/blog, because I can handsell that website. "Go to this web address; there are a lot of neat YA books for sale and they're all $2.99."

    On libraries:
    My new library, which just opened from a 2-year full remodel this fall, has a whole floor for YA. I was very impressed.

    I'm half-children's/half-digital at my B&N and our store just blew out our Teen section and added three more bays for contemporary YA. We do get a pretty steady stream of young customers there. Amazon is hard to use if you don't have a credit card of your own, and a bookstore with a coffee shop is still perceived by parents as a safe place for their teens to go.

  12. #12
    Moonshade lauralam's Avatar
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    I was regularly given book vouchers for Xmas etc. Ended up with about $100 to spend on books every Christmas. It was awesome.

    I had good libraries in the Bay Area that had clear YA sections, so I hung about in those a lot. I also used to go to Borders and sit and read their stock in the cafe while drinking coffee. Probably read at least 200 books there that I never bought. I never damaged the books, but I do wonder what the staff thought of me...however, I did also spend all my book vouchers there.
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  13. #13
    practical experience, FTW angeluscado's Avatar
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  14. #14
    My local library has a HUGE teen section--literally half the second floor, and it's a spacious floor--and I see kids in there all the time. Granted, it's a pretty awesome library. They also have a sectioned-off "teens only" section with booths and magazines and computers and stuff for them to hang out (also located in the aforementioned space on the second floor.)

    I also see them in the actual Barnes and Noble, so I assume they're buying the books themselves either with their after-school-job money or getting their parents to buy them for them.

    I don't know much about how teens use ebooks or not, at least around here. Everyone and their mother has a Smartphone (except me and my mother, somehow), but I get the impression that's used more for Facebook than reading.
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  15. #15
    Outside the box, with the bunnehz KimJo's Avatar
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    Mar 2005
    somewhere in Massachusetts
    Scholastic-type book orders, school book fairs (around here, those are usually only for elementary school and maybe middle school, but they often have a YA book section because *parents* go to them and might have older kids to buy for). Our town library has a small YA section, but you have to actually search for it or ask one of the librarians where it is, because it's shoved off in one corner of the adult floor instead of being near the children's/mid-grade section as would seem logical to me.

    I don't personally know any teens who have e-readers; my two teen daughters and their friends all say they vastly prefer print books. When they read at all. Other than my 14-year-old, most of the teens I talk to say the only books they usually read are the ones they're assigned in school.

  16. #16
    here and there again fadeaccompli's Avatar
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    Dec 2009
    Austin, TX
    Huh. When I was a teen, I got pretty much all of my books from the school library. Going to a non-school library was a rare event, and usually provided me with much less selection anyway. But I may have been exceptionally lucky in the size of the library attached to my school.

    When I bought books, it was through the Scholastic catalogs once or twice a year, or in one of the even more rare trips to a giant bookstore. As more bookstores close, I'm not sure how many teens get a chance to go to them; but a lot more teens are online, and I wonder how many can just make their online purchases there. Teenagers don't usually have their own credit cards, but presumably a lot of them can do the "I have twenty dollars in allowance, will you buy me these three books on Amazon?" dance with the parents.

    Unless they want to buy something their parents don't approve of; that's a lot harder without cash. Now I'm curious to as to how that's changed things.

  17. #17
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin Moose's Avatar
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    Dec 2012
    Ontario, Canada
    Around here I see plenty of high school students in the bookstore. Not at night. It's usually in the afternoon after school gets out. The store is near a mall so that could be the reason.

    If they're younger than that, they're usually at the store on Saturday afternoon with their parents.

  18. #18

    Now, I buy ebooks from Amazon because I never have time to go to the library.

  19. #19
    :) bethany's Avatar
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    Mar 2007
    Room two-hundred-something on the first floor
    My high school (where I teach) has a great library. Most students check out books there, and maybe buy a few favorites. I do lots of YA books in my class and parents often email me that after having my class their kids will ask for books for the first time in years.

    A few students in each class have kindles that they seem to buy books regularly for, and a few more have mentioned that they are getting them for Christmas.

    I have a small group of really avid readers in my literary club and my Speculative Literature/YA literature classes, and those guys go to bookstores (with Borders closing our independent and our B&N are rather far away, but I know they do go on occasion because they'll tell me whether or not my book was on the shelf).

    My 8 year old has started reading books on the kindle. Her older brother is still into paper books, he's more of a collector, lining up his Diary of a Wimpy Kids on one shelf and his Geronimo Stilton's on another. He also likes sets of reference books. I'm interested to see how that progresses, and how their habits change as they get older.

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  20. #20
    Oooh look at the pretty pony! goldhorse's Avatar
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    Mar 2012
    In the sticks
    My kid gets the best of both worlds. Our library loans out kindle books now. I was so excited. No more trips all the way across town. YAY. She'll be getting the kindle fire for christmas because I have no more room for all the scholastic books. I'm pretty sure she's read halfway through the school library already. I also used to swap with my friends when I was little. My poor child's friends don't care about books. They're more into video games.

  21. #21
    My kids get their books from libraries and bookstores (both physical and online). They choose both ebooks and hold-em books but my daughter (12) is avowed in her determination to ensure "real" books don't disappear so she spends her money only on the "real" thing.
    (But mom is allowed to buy books for her e-reader!)
    As a teacher, I can tell you that Scholastic book orders are still popular as are book fairs. These are instrumental in getting kids excited and talking about books with each other.

  22. #22
    Twitchy Niiicola's Avatar
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    Jul 2011
    New England
    Man, I'm only just realizing how lucky I was as a kid/teen. My mom's a librarian, so during the summers I'd sometimes go along with her to work and grab a comfy chair in the stacks and read for hours. Or she'd bring books home for me. Plus she had stacks and piles and bookcases of paperbacks all over our house. There was never a shortage of books. It was pretty fantastic

  23. #23
    The coordinates keep changing... inkspatters's Avatar
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    Jul 2009
    I spent basically all the money I made as a teen on books. My parents also bought me stuff. And my friends. Sometimes (not as often as I should have, really) I used the school or local library.
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  24. #24
    sleeping the sleep of the sleepless Mayfield's Avatar
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    Jan 2010
    my own private Idaho
    My son gets books from his school library/classroom, public library, local bookstore and as gifts (he has one grandparent who always gives him a gift certificate to the bookstore). He's not reading e-books (yet). As for swapping books...not that I know of. But maybe that's the point.
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  25. #25
    Oops Kyla Laufreyson's Avatar
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    Sep 2010
    Not under 18 anymore...but I've absolutely ALWAYS used my library. Of course I also know I have an amazing library. There's only ever been two things I've wanted that we didn't have (last book in the Ring trilogy, and the Braided Path trilogy by Chris Wooding, even though we have every single OTHER Chris Wooding novel).

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