The Growing Number of YA Major Deals

As a creature of habit, I tend to check the same websites in the morning. I start out with the HuffPo, meander over to (I need my entertainment fix!), read some writing blogs, and then check out the latest publishing deals on Publisher's Marketplace.

In the past few months, I've noticed an interesting trend in YA deals. First, there are a lot more of them--lots and lots of YA novels are getting bought left and right. And second, there has been a big spike in the number of YA major deals. ("Major deal" = $500,000 and up.) It seems like every other week, I see another YA major deal crop up on Publisher's Marketplace. Which made me wonder...

How many YA major deals have sold in previous years? So I did a quick search on PM, counted up the deals, and then made a nifty graph on Here are the results:

Fascinating, right?*

Aside from a dip in 2009, the number of YA major deals has steadily increased since 2004. We're only midway through 2011 and there have already been fifteen major deals! We are well on our way to shattering last year's total of twenty-two deals.

This uptick in big deals has gotten me thinking. Why the spike in numbers? Why the interest in YA? A few random thoughts:

The YA market is growing at a fast rate. More readers. More books. More interest. Not only are teens gobbling down these books, adults are too. And so, it makes sense for publishers to want to find the next big thing. The next big Twilight. The next big Hunger Games.

Building on the last point, I've read on a few blogs (forgive me, I can't remember where) that the children's publishing market is one of the few genres making money these days. Thus, I can understand why publishers are pouring more money into the YA market. If YA books are bringing you money, then you have money to spend on more YA books.

So what do you think about this trend in "big" YA novels? Do you see it lasting into the future? Or pittering out? And why do you think we're seeing such a spike in these major deals?

*Not all deals are announced on Publisher's Marketplace, which means my numbers are not wholly representative of all YA major deals.