This thesis is a reader-centred investigation of Australian young adult self defined 'keen readers' of novels for pleasure, and considerations regarding audiences by writers and publishers. It is predicated on the understanding that adult power operates at every level of young adults' lives, including the publishing, promotion and availability of their literature. The complexity of defining 'young adult' and 'Young Adult literature' and therefore publishing and promoting for this nominal audience is recognised as being dependent on the varying adult constructs of the terms and, therefore, is at the basis of decisions made in this adult-oriented industry. Historical and commercial aspects of Australian publishing (nominally) for this group of readers provide a context for this grounded theory-based qualitative study. Analysis of transcripts from focus group discussions with self-defined young adult 'keen readers of novels for pleasure' demonstrates that these participants had a sophisticated understanding of their leisure reading experiences regarding what they liked reading, how they found out about books, what made them choose one book over another, and where they obtained them. The insights gained from these 34 participants informed the analysis of comments by Australian adult 'creators' - writers and publishing staff - regarding audience, commercial pressures, promotional aspects and other factors influencing what is published and made available to young adult keen readers for pleasure. That these 34 participants were active buyers and promoters as well as borrowers of books indicates the need for the industry to recognise their expertise and value as a distinct and influential audience niche - the 'neo-consumers' of the future. The research provides a starting point into analysis of the influence of the group of adults I have termed gatekeepers, whose (largely institutional) roles enable them to either connect young adult readers with books and creators, or to separate them.
|Date of Award||2005|