Amidst fear and suspicion that younger generations will stop reading and instead reach for glowing computer screens over glorious books, millennial women are proving themselves to be avid readers. The Guardian reports that the generation of readers, specifically women in their 20s and 30s, who grew up with J.K. Rowlings’ Harry Potter series, have been molding the world of literature across genres. “It’s wonderful to see that the Harry Potter generation – both male and female – have not fallen out of love with books,” Kate Skipper of Waterstones excitedly stated.
Nielsen Book released statistics that show interesting book-buying trends in 2015. The value of the fiction market grew by 5.2%, with 29% of the market credited to crime and thriller novels and 41% credited to literary fiction. Grip-lit, a term for psychological thrillers with thoroughly engrossing plots, has a huge following, with immensly popular books like The Girl on the Train and Gone Girl (both books that were impossible to put down).
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According to Nielsen, “67% of grip lit is bought by women, with 25 to 34-year-olds accounting for the largest age category within that.” Young adult books, children’s picture books, and adult coloring books, whose publishing industries have all seen positive changes in the last few years, are also popular categories amongst women over 18.
Non-fiction has also seen a massive growth in popularity. Nielsen’s data shows that female readers aged 25-34 account for 68% of sales in non-fiction. Health and dieting books and adult coloring books saw massive growth in the non-fiction market (calm your nerves with these coloring books– it works).
So how does Harry Potter play into the growing and changing market? Many are crediting Harry Potter for this generation of fiction and non-fiction loving women, noting that a majority of millennials grew up with the young wizard and his fantastic friends. Jo Henry, Director of Nielsen Book Research, posited: “It is Generation Potter… Two years ago they were reading YA, now they’re coming on to grip lit (…) I think it’s a generation we have to keep an eye on – they’re obviously really heavy book readers, and we have to make sure we’re reaching them in the right way. They have huge spending power, and this will only increase.”
Samantha Eades, a young millennial herself, feels that “unreliable narrators like Rachel from The Girl on the Train, Amy from Gone Girl and Clare from In a Dark, Dark Wood are our new Ron, Harry and Hermione, with bad husbands, jealous best friends and dangerous next-door-neighboors our new He Who Must Not Be Named.” It’s all about the page turning.
In short, Harry Potter seems to have turned reading into a thrilling way to be entertained for the generation who is now making money and influencing the book-publishing industry. Who knew that J.K. Rowling would have such a lasting impression on readers outside of the wizarding world?
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Keep up the reading, ladies!
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