Long-time young-adult literature fans might have been left scratching their heads when Amazon recently announced that the The Hunger Games trilogy had passed Harry Potter as its all-time bestselling young adult series. However, all became clear when Amazon mentioned that the series had been selling like crazy as e-books: for every print version of a Hunger Games book sold, readers bought 3.7 Kindle e-book copies.
Of course, the Hunger Games books have been available electronically for some time, whereas Harry Potter only became available in the past year. And Hunger Games just had a blockbuster movie adaptation to drive interest in the paper books, while my Mom told me that Harry Potter was very much “yesterday’s news” among the kids at the high school from which she retired as librarian this year. But still, I find this a very interesting statistic as it seems Hunger Games sales are considerably more skewed toward e-books than fiction book sales as a whole.
So what does that say about the target audience? Are young readers skewing more and more toward e-books as they have more of a taste for gadgets than older generations? Are they more likely to engage in the impulse-buy of downloading an e-book?
The price of the Kindle editions might be a factor, too: the original book is available for $1.99 for Kindle right now (or $5 in a movie tie-in edition), with the other two books $5.99 each—pretty cheap for traditionally-published bestsellers, and definitely within the price range of kids with allowances to spend. Weirdly, a trilogy edition is available at $18.99 for Kindle, which is more than you’d pay for the original three books if all of them were $5.99!
This also may give the lie to the idea that people aren’t interested in reading anymore. It sure seems like quite a few still are!