Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Do teens use Amazon?

Amazon (and B&N.com) is one of my favorite places to procrastinate-- I'll go there to check on my books , to find new and interesting covers, to browse my favorite YA fiction, and to occasionally even buy a (gasp!) book for "grown-ups". (I'm now reading and enjoying Girls in Trucks). I also love seeing all the Lists, as well as the reviews, many of which seem to be written by real-life teens! There is clearly a strong teen presence on Amazon, but yet when I email with my fans, many of them say that they are not allowed to purchase books online. This makes sense--I certainly didn't have a credit card when I was a teenager (and, uh, Amazon didn't exist yet!), so buying books meant a $20 bill and hitting up my wonderful local book shop (this was also before the Barnes & Noble megastores, which came into being when I was in the middle of high school).

I wonder: what are teens' book-buying methods today? Do they use Amazon or other online retailers to see what catches their fancy, and then visit a bookstore to seek those titles out? Are their parents purchasing the books for them, and how much does parental approval play into the book-buying process? (I remember my mom being hesitant to buy me a racy-looking Sweet Valley High...my reading of which probably inspired me, almost unconsciously, to write the books I do!).

Plus: where do libraries fit into the picture? What proportion of YA readers frequent their local libraries and leave with armfuls of novels? (When I was growing up, I loved nothing better than a long summer day spent at the library). When I stopped by a small library on the Upper East Side the other day to work on some writing, the YA shelf looked very well-stocked but I didn't spot any teens, as I often will in Barnes&Noble.

I'm curious as to what others think/experience on this topic...

Thanks, and happy spring to all...





Steph said...

Hahaha I'm a teen and I've had a credit card for a while now. But I have to pay for everything I buy with it. Yes, I buy books online. But I couldn't agree with you more about the library thing--I love those!

I use Amazon a lot. Any contests I run in my blog are supplied by Amazon (unless the author provides copies) and I copy all of my reviews on Amazon as well.

Do you guys read your books' reviews?

Aimee Friedman said...

That is great to know!

Oh, I definitely read my books' reviews on Amazon, and my guess is other authors do as well. It's very interesting to know how readers respond to your books, and a great review always makes my day. :)

Keep blogging and reading!

Anna R said...

I am 16 and I buy books from Amazon using my grandpa's account that he permits me to use. I post reviews on Amazon. Initially, there was a difficulty because Amazon would post my Grandpa's name as the reviewer for my reviews because he pays. It took a long time to straighten this out. I didn't want my reviews with grandpa's name and he didn't want my reviews with his name , hehe. It is all worked out now and I post reviews. As a member of the Simon Pulse Teen Board I review books and post them on Amazon as well as the Simon Pulse page.

Anonymous said...

As a YA Librarian, what I see alot of teen doing it going to Amazon.com and either bringing me a printed list to put on hold for them or more recently they toggle between Amazon and the library online catalog and place books on hold on line and come pick them up later that week. It is amazing to me what kids I only see checking out items they placed on hold and not browsing the shelves.