Should the Young Adult Book Category Be Rebranded?

In Discussion by Erin L. Cox

The "Young Adult" moniker is disliked by both teen readers and adult fans.

The “Young Adult” moniker is disliked by both teen readers and adult fans.

By Erin L. Cox

One of the surprises from Friday’s Nielsen Children’s Book Summit was the conversation that revolved around the branding of the Young Adult book category.

During a discussion featuring actual teenage readers — “In Their Own Words: Live Teen Focus Panel” — all the panelists agreed that they didn’t like the genre “young adult” and generally thought it applied to 13-year-olds rather than themselves. When asked what genre name they might prefer, one young man on the panel drew laughs when he suggested that he thought they “read at an adult level.” Though they don’t like “young adult,” they were intrigued by the genre “new adult,” which they hadn’t heard of before.

That fed into a discussion from earlier in the day about what do about the “young adult” category and if it should be renamed, reshelved, or repackaged. YA fiction doesn’t fall into a typical “children’s book” category due to the sheer number of adults that buy books from this category for their own personal reading (80%), so it makes quantifying sales incredibly difficult.

The question remains up for debate and raises the question: is it time to rebrand “Young Adult,” which feels inappropriate to both teenage readers and category’s adult fans.  But if so, what’s a good, suitable alternative?

Let us know what you think in the comments.

About the Author

Erin L. Cox

Erin L. Cox is the Business Development Director for Publishing Perspectives and a Senior Associate at Rob Weisbach Creative Management, where she represents writers and handles publicity and advertising clients.