A Librarians View
When we think about booklovers, what nearly always springs to mind is the trope of the bibliophile that roams the aisles of dusty bookshops to select which volume to take home, treasure and make their own. While this certainly accounts for some booklover’s experience – there is a part of the story that is missing. The affection that goes in to visiting the library to make a reservation, then returning eagerly to see if your book has come in is no less ardent. That’s what I did as a child, and now I can buy books I do, but I don’t think I do so with any more excitement or premeditation, nor do I cherish them any more then when I was a permanent, penniless fixture at my local library.
Just because people don’t, or can’t go into a bookshop and buy a book, doesn’t mean they aren’t reading it, and huge numbers of people reading cannot but be important to the book business. Whether because people often try things out at the library before they do buy, because people often recommend what they’ve liked to friends, or because libraries have long served as an early sign of what will become the next big thing.
So, what of this little talked about demographic, what are they reading?
One area that caught my eye was Urban Fiction. The amount of serious literary attention and review space given to this genre just doesn’t match up to the amount of people I see queuing up on a Saturday morning to see if the latest Stacy Campbell or Angela Winters has come in. There’s no reason why this should be so – it’s important to note that ‘Urban’ refers to a locale and the people who live there, not the topics that are covered. There are a breath taking number of genres within a genre to take in, from crime dramas and action packed thrillers to erotica and misery memoirs, and we at Turnaround think the rise in Urban fiction should be heralded as an exciting new world to explore.