The population of the United States is getting older. People are living longer on one end of the spectrum, but younger people are delaying having kids, and when they do have kids, they are birthing fewer kids than in the past generations. So, what does all of this mean for the book world?
Well, first a few asterisks. First, if immigration patterns change, all bets are off. Second, sadly, if covid keeps killing people, it’s harder to say what the population will look like in just a few years.
The population of 2020, according to a study covered in The New York Times, shows that the biggest group of people, by five five-year groupings are 25-29 years old. Millennials.
From 65 and older there were huge declines.
However, project for 2040, 45-49-year-olds will be the largest segment in the U.S. The drop off in age is less noticeable until you get to the 80-85-year-old bracket.
Generally, wealth is accrued as we age, meaning a 60-year-old is likely to have more money and less debt than a 25-yea-old. As the population skews older in the U.S, so might reading tastes and book purchases. Are authors ready to feed the evolving marketplace?
Perhaps bigger than age or wealth will be whether a generation reads books and values them. So far, books still hold their own, but the content marketplace is huge and varies in formats. A ton of content is free, such as blogs, podcasts and online news. Will people still buy books in two decades? Will books change in size or scope?
No one has a crystal ball, but if you seek to write what the marketplace will buy, follow the aging patterns of America. There are 65 million people age 1 day to 29 years in America. That will be the growing source of book buyers in 20 years.
Writers most often write what they know and like, but should they want to take the marketplace into consideration, start looking at what today’ 45-50-year-old buys. Chances are the next wave of people in that age bracket in 2040 will buy similarly.
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Brian Feinblum should be followed on Twitter @theprexpert. This
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