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Who's buying teen books? Lots and lots of adults

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(Read caption) Some young adult titles, like 'Every Day' by David Levithan, receive critical acclaim that helps them to attract adult readers.

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A new study by Bowker Market Research just served to confirm something that many of us already knew: Many of the readers buying books aimed at the teen market are no longer teenagers. But the numbers are more dramatic than we may have guessed. According to the Bowker study, 55 percent of customers who buy young adult books are 18 or older. In fact, the largest group of readers purchasing titles labeled "young adult" are actually 30 to 44 years old – hardly the target demographic for the books.

Of course sometimes parents or grandparents may buy books for young readers but according to the survey, 78 percent of adults who were buying the young adult books said they were buying for themselves, not someone else.

“The extent and age breakout of adult consumers of these works was surprising,” said Kelly Gallagher, Vice-President of Bowker Market Research, in a statement. “And while the trend is influenced to some extent by the popularity of 'The Hunger Games,' our data shows it’s a much larger phenomenon than readership of this single series.”

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