Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Children's and Teen Book Scene in France

I noticed that a large part of my readership comes from France. Viva la France! I majored in French in college and my one trip abroad was to France. When I saw the statistics come in last week, I immediately wanted to know what the children's book scene was like in France. So, I did a little digging. For all my French readers, I would love to hear your opinions. What do you think about the teen book scene in France/Europe?

First off, I learned that the young adult scene is very new in France. In an article from Publishers Weekly- (click here) Shaine Cassim, author and editor at Wiz-Albin Michael explained, "in the past, once a young French reader transitioned out of children’s books, they simply moved to adult books". Cassim is working to bring the YA book world to France. She states, "YA audiences deserve their literature".


Then there is editor Florence Barrau of Editions des Grandes Personnes. She is a champion
of YA literature in France. In the above mentioned article, she explains the current hardship French publishers face, "Economic factors enable only modest print runs, and the lack of a robust YA readership can be frustrating. The majority of the works Barrau has published thus far have been translated from English, originating either in the U.S. or the U.K., a trend that may shift to include more French authors as YA develops more of a stronghold in the market."

Interestingly, the article goes on to mention, "There also remains a stigma in France about literature for children, one that frequently categorizes the books as “simplified” or “pseudo-literature.” This bias also prevents many YA books from receiving critical attention from reviewers." 


I am truly excited that the YA book market in France is emerging! What an exciting time to be an author. 

In another article, this one from Publishingtrends.com (click here), the marketing sustainability of children's books in Europe was discussed. The writer of the article concluded that the children's publishing markets in Europe are benefiting from parents who are unwilling to make cuts in what they see as their children's cultural education. For France, it looks like things will only get better as their traditional publishing houses delve into the ebook-digital scene.

On the younger children's front, picture books in France are doing well. In an article from Publishingperspectives.com (click here), the steady market is due to the French peoples love for art. Murielle Coueslan, Nathan’s editorial director for “under 8’s” states, “What is unique in France is that there’s a big focus on artwork.”

Coueslan notes that at the Bologna Book Fair 'people come over to the French area to see what we’re
doing. Illustrators are often artists. A classic road for illustrators when they get out of art school is to go into book publishing'."

He goes on to say, "part of this creativity is also spurred on by the enormous production of books in France, tough competition and a difficult market. 'We’re in a holding pattern right now in which you have to be super creative. We’re all trying to find something original. Books that do well deserve to do so, they are creative and well done and, besides, the public is more educated and more demanding'."

So readers from Europe? What do you think? How do you see the children's and young adult market where you live? What are you hoping for in the future?

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