Hello Louise. Hello Regina , this is going to be fun, interviewing my lovely colleagues. How are you both today?
Regina: Hi Jo! It’s great to talk to you, we’re very excited to share great news with our customers.
Louise: I’m great today, Jo and super excited to be doing this interview
Could you say how you ended up working with us at Red Lion Books?
Louise: I come from Clacton and have worked for Red Lion Books since February 2022. The day I got the interview for the job was my birthday, so I often call my job the best birthday present I've ever got.
Regina I am originally from Mexico and I’ve been living in Colchester for the past year and a half. It’s funny how I ended up working at Red Lion Books because I used to be a customer. I came here often, and befriended the people working here. Then I had the idea to start working on the bookshop’s TikTok account voluntarily, in exchange for proofs. Eventually I was hired to become a bookseller. It’s a dream job for a bookworm like me.
…. I have noticed a huge increase in the sale of young adult books recently. Why do you think this is?
Regina I think it’s a trend worldwide. Not only are more YA books being written, but the demand keeps increasing drastically. I think it has to do with the growth of a book loving community in social media.
Books have given many young people the opportunity to engage in a community where they feel understood and accepted. I’m proud to say Louise and I are part of that community too. We’ve had a lot of fun contributing to the online discussion of books and encouraging others to pick up titles we’ve fallen in love with.
Louise: There is this stereotype, especially amongst the older generations, that all any young person does is stare at a screen all day, that we're addicted to our phones and couldn't survive without them. Personally, I believe that stereotype is complete and utter nonsense, and we're seeing evidence for that in the increase of YA Books. YA books are specifically on the rise because, as a Young Adult, it's often hard to find a book that features a relatable character. At seventeen, I found it hard in the General Fiction section to find a character I could understand or empathise with; all the characters were significantly older than me for an older audience. As a teenager, you're going through so much, and older generations, especially in the 21st Century, don't relate to what is happening internally in a young person's brain. Books, even Fictional books, help the reader find solace, that they aren't alone in their feelings, hopes, dreams and dilemmas, and that can provide great comfort.
That is interesting to hear. From a retail perspective, one of the things we did was move the YA titles away from the children’s books - because the real definition of a young adult is precisely that : An adult book but for young people (over the age of 18.) Can you give us examples of books that you have seen being marketed to children, but are better suited to YA ?
Regina Oh there’s definitely a confusion of what the Young Adult range really means. In the book industry, they’ve referred to people aged 13-18 as Young Adults, but I’d say that range should be better referred to as Teenagers or Young-Young Adult (laughs). The real young adults lie in the age range of 18-25, because they are dealing with adult topics and adult content, much more mature than subjects that 13-18 children would deal with. But they are still trying to find their place in the world. I wouldn’t see my mum interested in the same subject matters. For example, Colleen Hoover, a very popular romance author, has been marketed as Young Adult, and yes, her books are targeted towards a readership of 18-25. However, many people misinterpret the ‘young adult’ tag, and think they’re suitable for a 15 year old, whilst the topics in the book are certainly of a much more mature nature due to the sexual and violent content in them.
Louise The covers can occasionally be misleading - the animated and cartoonish designs can make them look like they are intended for younger audiences. I saw someone call It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey an appropriate book for younger readers because of the cover design when it features mature scenes over the course of the book, which aren't suitable for readers under a certain age.
This brings me onto the subject of a new Book Club, in association with Red Lion Books, which is aimed at young adults.
Which age group are you inviting in?
Regina We’re precisely inviting the real Young Adults! This is a book club for people aged 18-25 who feel like they are too old to join the 14-17 Young Adult book club, but not yet old enough to join the adult daytime book club, or your own and very wonderful Appetite Book club.
Louise Ideally, the age range is an over-eighteen group. A more solid range is 18-25.
Having run book clubs since 2007, I am excited about this new group because they provide such pleasure. As a group we have had deaths, births. marriages, friendships and 150 different reads! What is your first book club choice?
Regina We’re very excited to announce that our first book will be a book we’ve both held dear to our hearts and encapsulates the vibe we’re going for. Perhaps you’ve heard of it, since it’s one of our popular and well loved titles at Red Lion Books. So, without further ado, the title of our January book is The Night Circus by Erin Morgensten!
Louise I'm super excited for The Cocoa Bookclub to start, it's something Regina and I have talked about for months. We're choosing the titles alternatively. I love the book Regina has chosen for our first meeting; The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. I couldn't think of a better option; it has everything we want for a first book.
What a fantastic choice, and it is one that we discussed when it was first published. It is lovely to know that it has stood the test of time. Can I ask how you chose the name Of the book club?
Regina We brainstormed a lot of words. We needed one to catch the vibe we wanted: cozy, warm, something that felt like a hug and also a well deserved rest. So we chose the ultimate treat that gives that feeling, a cup of hot cocoa!
Louise Honestly, coming up with the name was so much fun. It was Regina's idea to find an aesthetic for the club and a name representing that aesthetic. For days we sent each other names we'd come up with; seriously, if you look at our texts, there is just a solid block of texts containing lists of book club names. Eventually, we hand-picked a few select names which really resonated with us and started whittling them down, almost like a knockout tournament, until we settled on The Cocoa Bookclub. I think part of the reason we decided on that was our love for Hot Chocolate.
…and lastly, how can people get in touch to make a booking?
We’d love to have people join! The book club will cost £12.99 and includes the book, a warm drink and a slice of cake. We’ll be holding it on the last Sunday of the month at Dice and Slice at 11:00 am. If you want to sign up, please email the bookshop at email@example.com, or visit us in person at Red Lion Books. If you have any questions you can also contact us via TikTok at @lavaflowers and @lulabelle04 or Instagram @RedLionBooks
Louise If you already have a copy of the book, you will be given a £7.99 book voucher instead. We can’t wait to welcome you