kiosk literature

kiosk literature
   Literatura de quiosco is a phrase used since the late nineteenth century to designate a type of popular light reading-matter sold from kiosks in streets, parks and railway stations. In the second half of the twentieth century, the phrase simply meant literature with a mass appeal, independently of where it was sold, though street kiosks continue to be one of the main retail outlets, along with stationery shops, department stores, and newsagents in stations and airports. As with other aspects of contemporary cultural life, however, traditional distinctions have become blurred, and while escapist romantic novels predominate in this sector of the market, it is also a means of disseminating "serious" literature, both classical and contemporary, through the increasing number of pocket and paperback series. Much of the output of this kind of literature is targeted at young readers. A survey carried out by the Instituto Nacional de Estadística (INE-National Statistical Institute) and the Ministry of Culture in 1987 suggested that the sector of the public which reads most is the age group between 14 and 24, that this cohort is more likely to read books than newspapers, and that its reading is a leisure-time rather than a functional activity. In the bottom half of this sample (14–19 years), 70 percent read books. When questioned about their preferences for different kinds of novel, 84 percent reported having read adventure novels, 83 percent comic-strip books, 66 percent detective fiction, 59 percent science fiction, and 55 percent humorous novels. Romantic novels and novels by contemporary writers were read by 39 percent of respondents, and classic novels by 38 percent. In non-fiction, 45 percent reported having read practical manuals or books about hobbies, 43 percent poetry, 30 percent biography, 21 percent art and 18 percent discursive prose. Though publishers have not had much success with collections and series devised specifically for this young clientele (largely because potential readers tend to think of them as "children's literature"), many contemporary authors have managed to appeal to this readership by careful choice of subject and style (see also novel).
   Kiosk literature is also the main source of translations of foreign best-sellers, with Agatha Christie heading the list. Other popular authors include Jules Verne, Jane Austen, the Brontë sisters, Conan Doyle, Stephen King, John le Carré, J.R.R. Tolkien, Stanley Kubrick, John Steinbech and Frederick Forsyth. Perhaps surprisingly, many editions of Shakespeare are also sold through this outlet.
   Romantic novels are still very popular, though the genre of the novela rosa, which had its heyday in the 1920s and 1930s, has declined in popular esteem. Nevertheless, reprints of works from that period are still sold in substantial numbers, and the romantic novel owes much for its survival to the enormous popularity of the works of Corín Tellado.
   Further reading
   - Hooper, J. (1995) The New Spaniards, Harmondsworth: Penguin (chapters 21 and 24 give an excellent overview of the cultural changes of the 1970s and 1980s).
   CARLOS ÁLVAREZ ARAGÜÉS

Encyclopedia of contemporary Spanish culture. 2013.

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