Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Most Popular Book Genres--Do You Choose One or Does It Choose You?

I did a little research about which genres are most popular with readers. One source simply said "fiction" was the most popular, but that seemed awfully broad to me. I mean, I already know that most readers go for something fictional before reaching for a book on microbiology. Which kinds of fiction do they like?

Well, I found this somewhat sketchy, possibly reliable source of information known as "filedby," and read the following statistics:

1.) Crime/thriller/mystery is number one, with 48% of readers preferring this genre.

2.) Science Fiction takes the second spot, beaming up about 26% of readers.

3.) Romance has stolen the hearts of 21% of the bookworm population. (Be quiet, you know its funny).

4.) And then the list moves on to non-fiction for some reason, with History taking 31% of the nonfiction market.

5.) And biographies rounding out the non-fiction contest I didn't know that we were holding.

I have no idea where this poll came from, who they polled, and what the test group was, but it's some food for thought. And actually, now that I think about Barnes and Noble's selection of books, a very large number of them do appear to be crime/thriller/mystery. Which sucks, because that's just not my forte, if you will. Fantasy doesn't make any of these lists that I perused, making me feel like the nerd who got picked last for the bookaholic team.

So that begs the question should you pay attention to any of this? Should you consider this when starting your book in the hopes that you reach a larger audience? Or should you ignore statistics entirely and choose the genre you prefer?

I knew when I wrote my Fantasy books that they wouldn't be in a wildly popular genre. But it is my humble opinion that good writing is good writing, and if its done well enough, then just about anyone will want to read it.

What do you think?


  1. It's interesting to know, but I don't think writers should write books based solely on this. You write the books you want to read. Otherwise, I think the readers can tell you're mailing it in.

    1. I completely agree! Just like you said; it's good stuff to know, but a writer should write what they are most interested in. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. I'm a science fiction writer for the most part. I didn't pick the genre, it picked me. :) People need to write what they love. Don't tell me the odds otherwise.