Well, ok then. Since everyone else is already all over the ageism aspect, I'll just go ahead and address the substance of the rest of Night and nrjxll arguments.
@Night: You're over-reading my argument. I'm not some kind of Ayn Rand free-market acolyte, but the fact is that the publishing business is a business. They do not offer products that are best
for the customer, they offer those that customers are willing to buy at the highest price they are willing to buy them at. As a business, they don't exist to improve the reading tastes of the American public, whatever that would mean, they exist to meet the needs of their customers.
"You can do things badly for ages, as long as everyone else is too or you're the only game in town. There's more than enough of both going on in the publishing industry to make that argument."
I disagree with your summary of the facts. The book business is so far from being a cartel and there are so many alternative sources of good works that readers can take advantage of, there is no need to submit to anyone's "bad practices."
"But more seriously, you've also assumed with blind faith that things done for the benefit of the producer will have benefits to the consumer."
I have not made that argument. I was merely responding to your statement ""Nothing the publisher does is required to serve a purpose to the reader." You have said that several times now. I don't know what you could possibly mean. If a publisher never does anything to serve their customers, just how do you think they stay in business? Cutting corners in the production process lowers the price of books, and DRM doesn't hurt more than a tiny proportion of readers (the vast majority of whom don't download anything, let alone feel a need to share their files). It may nevertheless be a bad practice. If so, it will eventually go away.
More to the point, from a publishers POV genres are
marketing demographics, as in "people who are interested in contemporary lit", etc. To an author, a genre is a type of work, but to a publisher, a genre is a set of features that a population of customers are interested in. That's just the way the business works.
@nrxjll: "My objection is to classifying works into "genres" that are based on demographics, not story elements..."
Ah, I think I'm beginning to get it. See the last paragraph in my response to Night, above. In any case, YA does
classify by story elements, primarily an approach toward story-telling that takes the POV of a 12-18 year old reader. This will inform the way in which the protagonists and antagonists are characterized, how settings are described, how the plot will proceed, what writing style is adopted- all are informed by the understanding of teen readers.
By the way, I never meant that Sci-Fi is somehow less successful now than in the past, I meant that the genre is no longer a single coherent body of works that resemble each other- it's diversified into a large body of sub-genres, and that's a good thing, overall.