There's a lively discussion going on over at Elle Strauss's blog about genre niches that aren't being filled. Many readers commented on the lack of books geared specifically toward college-aged kids.
The prevailing wisdom among legacy publishers--at least as far as I can see--is that college kids don't read for fun. They're too busy studying.
The truth is, if they're "too busy," it's playing XBox, going to frat parties and watching Jersey Shore. The college years are some of the most free and breezy of your entire life. The number of classroom hours is a fraction of that of high school kids. And the amount of "homework"? Well, my professor husband says it has steadily dropped as the cost of tuition has gone up. (One of the many things very broken about higher ed these days is just how little actual work students do. Make them work hard, you get bad evaluations and lose your job.)
This market niche is ripe for the picking, not only because of the sheer amount of free time college kids have. They also grew up reading, thanks to the phenomenon that is Harry Potter. The reason they stop reading isn't busy-ness. It's the lack of reading material that appeals to them. They want books more mature than YA--dealing with the transition to adulthood, without being fully adult. And since none exist, they stop reading. So maybe the "lack of market" is a self-perpetuating problem.
Let's be honest here--isn't advertising done in part to create demand for a product? Make enticing products and advertise like crazy and the co-eds will come.
What do you think? Is this a niche that indies/small presses should band together to fulfill?