Unless you have been living under a rock within the last week or so, you will be aware the internet sensation and popular vlogger ‘Zoella’ has teamed up with WHSmiths to make her own book club. Is this a breakthrough collaboration, which is going to inspire adolescents up and down the country to fork out their Saturday job wages or raid the bank of mum and dad to buy all eight books for some heavy summer reading?
Or is it just a new addition to the long line of merchandise Zoe has bought out to rake in a bit more cash? Or a bid to add more and more brands to her never ending ‘trophy cabinet’ of very famous companies she has worked with over the years.
No one can deny that encouraging young people to read is a good thing but is Zoella’s selection of books really going to make a massive difference to teenagers reading habits up and down the country. With exponential increase of smartphone possession in kids these days, can Zoella really go against this trend and bring back ‘the book’?
The influence Zoella has on young people up and down the country is enormous. She shows a pretty candle she has bought in a recent haul and it sells out in seconds. She styles her hair slightly differently, millions of girls across the world emulate her look and post tutorials within days on the Internet. Books are no different, right?
According to Bookseller, the sales for the books chosen by Zoella have increased 469% week on week. Zoella is someone you don’t want to mess with. With over 10 million crazy teenage fans as her army to protect and justify her every move, Zoella is definitely someone you don’t want to bad mouth.
You can’t dispute the influence Zoella has on her fans, whether this is a good or bad influence you can make your own mind up. Maybe she will inspire budding bookworms up and down the country. Maybe she will open their eyes to the wonderful world of YA fiction, in which case great. You have to agree that promoting, marketing and selling books is a lot more beneficial for young people than makeup bags. Which although may be ‘cute’ aren’t providing children with any educational benefits.
You can’t deny the effort and work it takes to run two successful YouTube channels with a combined following of over 14 million, But is this new project a bit of a cop out? Sure all these books, are individually great reads. They cover important themes such as mental health. But how does putting them all together in a ‘club’ and changing the colour/ style of the cover really influence young people to start reading? Is this just a gimmick to promote Zoella’s brand to a wider audience and is she really doing it with the audience’s best interest at heart?
Because surely if these kids were so interested in reading the books they would have bought them before hand? Some of these books aren’t new releases, some of them have been around for a year or so now. Maybe they haven’t heard of these particular books before so that’s why they are flocking down to their local WHsmiths to pick them up, explaining why sales figures have gone through the roof but surely if they were so interested in reading they would already be reading, no?
How can one girl sat in her bedroom, showing eight books, telling us all how brilliant they are (which she is being paid to say) really encourage so many kids to read? I think it’s highly important to encourage children to read, to enhance their vocabulary and pull their eyes away from a screen every now and again, but is this the most sustainable way to do it?
You could say that Zoella has already supported the growth of reading within young adults with the release of her two books; Girl Online and Girl online on tour. Which were thoroughly enjoyed my many right across the world.
Over 10 million fans of Zoella will buy whatever she says is good. Are these crazy teenage fans just going to buy the books to add them to their never-ending piles of YouTube merch because they have fancy covers and bookmarks with Zoe’s face plastered all over them, which will end up gaining dust on shelves and stacked under beds in years to come? Or will teenagers actually read and enjoy the books that Zoella so whole heartily recommended?
Can one individual YouTuber really encourage young people to put down the smartphones and pick up a book or is just one big fad?