You know, I have always thought Sweden was a pretty nifty place that I was interested in visiting. But now I’m starting to feel like there’s some geographic destiny at play. Shortly after my stint on Swedish television, schilling The Hunger Games movie to anyone with 100 kronor and the time, I received an e-mail from a Swedish university student, Christine Lundgren. She informed me that she was co-authoring a thesis paper on Young Adult lit in Swedish bookstores, and wanted to know if she could use my image (taken at Orcas Books in Olympia, Washington) on the cover page. The result:
Delightfully, the entire thesis is in Swedish. (Keywords include: young adult books, marketing, bookstores, alternative marketing solutions, ung vuxen-böcker, marknadsföring, bokhandeln, förslag på marknadsföring av ung vuxen-litteratur. Because obviously) But the abstract sums up the research Christine and co-author Emelie Nilsson did on how YA books were presented in Swedish bookstores:
We went to six different bookstores to do a field study to see how the store placed their books, focusing on young adult books. Where could you find the young adult section, were one title standing on two different places in the store, what the shop window looked like (and could you find any YA-books there?) and so on. We also talked to the staff and asked if they had any strategy when it came to categorizing and placing YA-books.
The result of our study is that bookstores could do a lot more when it comes to advertising YA-books in their store. Our suggestions are, for example, to advertise more about YA-books to both adults and younger people, have a specific shelf for YA-books (that isn’t right next to the children’s’ books), theme nights and use the staff’s knowledge and have them suggesting books for everyone.
Christine Lundgren, Emelie Nilsson, En resa genom granslandet (2012)
Looks like Swedish booksellers are suffering from the same YA reticence as many of their U.S. compatriots.
So… I’m actually having a difficult time pinpointing the coolest part of this entire thing: the fact that Christine e-mailed back and forth with me in flawless English, discussing the plight of YA books, or the fact that academic articles are being written about YA at international universities*? Either way, I’m so pleased that my on-the-fly iPhone image has reached so many people, book-lovers eager to see their chosen genre read and displayed without bias or shame.
I am also now planning, in detail, my eventual trip to this wonderful Swedish land, where they let me be on television and contribute to university theses, and hopefully many other things I am by no means qualified to do! Gå ut och läs!
* John Green today linked to this academic paper on Nerdfighteria and Paper Towns. Fascinating read. Academia: getting cooler all the time!