Hey, adults: teenagers still read!

So the other day, I met an adult. (Great blog post start, Josh.) This particular adult said something that kind of stuck with me, probably a bit more than it should have done.
This adult (I’ll keep them nameless, though partly because I’m still not 100% sure what their name was!) said something along the lines of, “Teens are constantly looking at their phones, and they don’t know what those things with pages and paper are called books.” That particular person went on to talk about when people had to go into libraries to look for information, now they’re just reading their phones and looking at the internet for information.
It stuck with me probably a bit too much. And I got thinking about what she said, and I could only draw one conclusion: Teens still read!
Woah! Shocker! What a conclusion to make. But it’s a serious statement, and I figured I needed to look into it a bit more rather than just using me as a case study.
Back in 2012, the Daily Mail reported that Nielsen BookScan had found that there had been a 150% increase in the number of YA books sold between 2006-2012, with the numbers jumping from 981,000 in 2006 to 2.4 million in 2012.
That’s a shocking number of books aimed at teenagers being sold. And despite the fact that industry experts estimate over one third are actually being bought by adults, remember that in 2012, 77.7% of teens read at least one extra book in America at least that isn’t required for school work.
Just 10.2% of UK teens say they don’t like reading at all. And I still don’t believe them, I just think they haven’t found the right book yet. (Source: National Literacy Trust)
So first of all, how dare anyone suggest that all teenagers do is sit on their phones or computers reading Facebook or tweeting or doing whatever online. It may seem ironic coming from me writing this on a blog which can only be accessed online, granted, but when only 10.2% of teenagers say they don’t like reading at all, surely that means that the 89.8% who said they do like reading (even just a little bit) read on a regular basis.
Granted, Kindles came along. I own one, as do millions of other people, but the number of e-books being sold are declining, whereas sale of physical “paper things called books” are actually rising. YA was the fastest growing genre from 2014, so please tell me how, where in a world where even vinyl records are making a comeback, teenagers are still too wrapped up in technology to read?

I guess we’ll never know. Perhaps one of us should look up from an iPhone just for a second to realise the shocking truth that libraries still exist.


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