Canadian bookselling giant Indigo Books & Music is counting its first Teen Reads Awards contest as a big success, with more than 15,000 teens voting for their favorite books and authors and 500 coming out to cheer the winners at an awards ceremony in Toronto on September 25.
The promotion, which ran all summer, asked teens to vote in-store or online for their favorite characters, authors and books. Registered voters were allowed to vote once a day in each of 10 categories, and 334,000 votes were cast.
This year’s winners are:
Best New Writer – Fallen, Lauren Kate
Best Teen Series – Vampire Academy, Richelle Mead
Best Lip Lock – Bella and Edward from Breaking Dawn, Stephenie Meyer
Best Hottie – Jace Waylaynd from Mortal Instruments: City of Glass, Cassandra Clare
Best Book-to-Flick – Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, JK Rowling
Best Hero– Percy Jackson from The Last Olympians, Rick Riordan
Best Villain –Alice Milthorpe from Prophecy of the Sisters, Michelle Zink
Best All Time Fave – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, J.K. Rowling
Best Canadian Read – The Reckoning, Kelley Armstrong
Best Read – Catching Fire, Suzanne Collins
Indigo gave away tickets to the awards night, which was hosted by Canadian television celebrities Jessi Cruickshank and Dan Levy. About 300 teens lined up on September 11 at one of Indigo’s stores in Toronto to get free tickets to the event, which in addition to the awards featured entertainment from Mayhem’s Finest, Alex Lacasse, and Alyssa Reid, and a special guest appearance by Hannah Montana co-star Emily Osment.
“We’re blown away by the excitement and enthusiasm Canadian teens have shown in this celebration of teen reading and books,” said Trevor Dayton, Indigo’s v-p, kids and entertainment. “The first customer in the line-up was from North Bay [about three hours north of Toronto] and they arrived at about six in the morning,” he added.
J.K. Rowling did not attend the award ceremony but wrote in to thank voters for their support. “Thank you, thank you, thank you, to everybody who voted. I'm thrilled, honoured and humbled to receive the awards, especially from Canada, where I have spent many happy hours with some of Harry's most devoted and knowledgeable fans,” she wrote.
Indigo’s sales of teen literature have grown by 150% over the last five years, according to company figures, and the Teen Read Awards were created to support that growth. When asked if such growth could continue in a post-Harry Potter, post-Twilight time, Dayton said he thought it could. “After the last Harry Potter book we all stood around looking at each other wondering whether we’d ever see anything like it again, and then not two years later we were doing the same thing for Breaking Dawn, so I no longer think that it is a once in a lifetime phenomenon,” he said. “I think teens have become accustomed reading en masse and for reading to be a social thing, and they become used to using the release of the new books that they are most enthusiastic about as an opportunity to celebrate reading and celebrate the social aspect of reading and getting together at midnight launch parties. So yeah, I absolutely think we’ll see another one.”
Who might be a possible successor in that line? Dayton said, “If I had to put odds on that I’d say that Suzanne Collins is probably the most likely. Catching Fire, the second book in the Hunger Games series, won the best read. She did win by a landslide, and the third book in the series, Mockingjay, was released a few weeks back, and has been the fastest-selling book we’ve seen in quite some time.”
The Teen Read Awards are a good indicator of which books might be the next big thing, but Dayton said they are “also just a great opportunity for kids to help build new series, new voices and learn about new series and voices and celebrate reading no matter what’s on the publishing schedule.” He added that given the success of this year's event, Indigo will be holding it again next year. "We’re going to start planning it any day now," he said.