Zoella’s mega-seller represents the future of youth publishing, says the ES headline above David Sexton’s review of Girl Online:
It’s a moment. Apparently from nowhere, a Young Adult novel, Girl Online (Penguin, £12.99) by 24-year-old Zoe Sugg, aka Zoella, has shot to the top of the bestseller lists. It shifted 78,109 copies in its first week of publication, making it the fastest selling debut ever, outdoing J K Rowling, Dan Brown and E L James. It seems a cert to head the charts for Christmas.
It’s not from nowhere, though. Zoella already commands audiences other authors can only dream of. She’s the queen of vloggers, the role model of her generation. In her shows, made from her home in Brighton, she talks about clothes, make-up, relationships and her life — and receives substantial advertising revenue for product-placement, for she reaches young consumers on an astonishing scale.
She has 6.3 million subscribers on YouTube and more than 12 million views a month. On Instagram, she has 3.3 million followers and on Twitter (@ZozeeBo) 2.59 million. Taking into account the devotion she inspires in her girl fans the book sales don’t look so remarkable.
As for that sales record, it doesn’t tell us anything new about publishing, which has abjectly depended upon spin-off sales from other media for many years. What it tells us about is the dominance of new media over old-fashioned television for Zoella’s generation — they’re “like 70-30 YouTube”, she reckons. She should know. Clever girl.