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Legend
September 21st, 2005, 11:01 PM
In hunting for mature, serious reads I've come to have bought and read many books I wished I hadn't. Their covers may look distinctive and professional, but many authors these days are targeting for teens, not always apparent intheir backcover blurp. Unless you do hard internet research, if you even have it, you pretty much wouldn't know until you bought it.

Do you think a simple label in the book's flap or such indicating an adult or young adult age is useful?

qonox
September 22nd, 2005, 10:53 AM
Putting age labels on books sounds like a good practice in theory, but you might lose some readers who only base their book choices on the label. Also, since books can be previewed before they are bought (at a bookstore anyway), it's a simple task to just skim through the book before making your decision.

I usually just buy fiction from authors who I've enjoyed previously, or who have been recommended to me. I don't think I've ever blindly just bought a book for the cover or story. Maybe I'm weird that way.

Expendable
September 22nd, 2005, 01:16 PM
Some of my fav books I've found both in the regular shelves and the Young Adult shelves. The only difference I've seen has been marketing.

--Ex.

Dawnstorm
September 22nd, 2005, 02:02 PM
In hunting for mature, serious reads I've come to have bought and read many books I wished I hadn't. Their covers may look distinctive and professional, but many authors these days are targeting for teens, not always apparent intheir backcover blurp. Unless you do hard internet research, if you even have it, you pretty much wouldn't know until you bought it.

Do you think a simple label in the book's flap or such indicating an adult or young adult age is useful?

There's fantasy and there's "Young adult fantasy". If these distinctions don't work for you, there's little reason to assume an additional label would do that, especially if it does pretty much the same thing.

The topic of labelling (although from a different - perhaps even opposite - position) came up in the following threads:

http://www.sffworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=10811

http://www.sffworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=10862

Legend
September 24th, 2005, 04:45 AM
Ah, thanks, Dawnstorm. My quick skim of thread topics must have overlooked that. I agree, some readers might be lost. Then again, I don't think so. They tend to stick to their own patterns and preferences.

Having seen the same cliches in sci fi for too long, I thought I'd try the fantasy genre last year. Unfamiliar with the usual names, I've unwittingly bought teen-targeted books I otherwise wouldn't have touched. I was thinking of Eddings and his wife's Polgara series. Their covers looked good, which can be a lure for readers, and I heard a lot of hype about the series. Some net research advised me many of them were actually young adult, which turned me off and, even better, I discovered the Malazan series.

But really, if one doesn't have the net or a social network to gain info, how would you know what is more adult than others until you read it?

KatG
September 26th, 2005, 09:12 PM
Books published specifically for young adult teen audiences have a label on them saying that they are for 12 and up, or 14 and up, and usually have the term young adult somewhere on the cover. Sometimes adults enjoy these novels. Sometimes a novel is sold as a YA title in one country's market and not in another. But if the publisher, usually a children's publisher, is going for the teen market, they very specifically declare it so that teen readers can find those books. So the labels that you are talking about already exist.

There are many books written by adults that can be enjoyed by teens, but they are not written specifically for teen audiences. They are adult fantasy and as such, have no age label on the packaging. That some adult readers don't find them gritty, dark, or mature enough for their tastes does not make them teen novels. That the book might have teen fans does not make it a teen novel, and you may very well confuse people by calling it such.

We do have this forum and many others on the web, plus publisher and author websites, review and bookselling sites, offering tons of information about any possible book you might be interested in. The folk on the Fantasy Forum are very knowledgable and will be able to recommend many dark, very adult stories. Current favorites in fantasy include Steven Erickson, R. Scott Bakker and China Mieville.

Legend
September 26th, 2005, 10:32 PM
Just discovered Erikson a few months ago, and now commencing his 3rd Malazan book, yes. Very much enjoying each one. Bakker I'm undecided about. But take George Martin's Song of Ice and Fire, a strong cast of teens but books that are very much adult, prosed and event wise. They're cover arted and synopsised to indicate that.

But I would have prefered to forgone The Magicians Guild and Myrren's Gift, if I knew they were not adult. And not necessarily will dept stores categorise what's young adult and adult. Without some keen net research, if one even has it, it's not always apparent what the book is written for.

KatG
September 29th, 2005, 10:57 AM
Well one way to know is to look at who publishes it. If it's an adult imprint or press, it's adult, and if it's a children's press, it's childrens and usually labelled as such. So in the States, if it's published by Del Rey or Bantam Spectra, it's adult. If it's published by Candelwick or Scholastic, it's YA.

Any book that is published by an adult press and not labelled in the packaging for a specific child/teen age group is considered an adult title. So if "The Magicians Guild" and "Myreen's Gift" were published by an adult press and not labelled as YA, then they are considered adult books, whatever some readers personally make of them. If they had been labelled, they would have then been labelled adult, and you would have had exactly the same problem you have now, without the label. Basically, adult fiction works are the ones without the label.

What you are talking about is not intended audience, but personal preferences. Writers provide a wide range of material and styles to suit varied adult preferences, and as an adult, you're expected to be able to find out what writers suit your preferences, since it is impossible for writers and publishers to know, everybody being different. You will have to use your own resources; life is unfair. :)

Legend
October 1st, 2005, 06:16 AM
Good point, KatG. I know Scholastic has done young adult Star Wars. My best bet's is to know what publishers birth what offspring.

Merancapeman
October 1st, 2005, 07:10 PM
Oh... I thought this was a thread about the age of the CHARACTERS in the books...

*turns around and heads back out.