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Taking a look at a bestseller list (http://www.theguardian.com/culture/ng-interactive/2014/dec/27/bestselling-books-of-2014-the-chart) can be an eye opening experience. It shows you which books the readers loved, but if you take a step back you’ll start to notice certain genres shine while others fade. This year is no exception. There are some surprising winners this year, and you might be shocked by the genres that lost some of their luster.
Kids and YA
Kids and YA have been strong genres for years. They’ve had their ups and downs, with booming years when Harry Potter and Twilight came out, and then have fallen into a deep slumber as writers of adult fiction have taken back over. While it was published in 2013, the biggest seller in 2014 was The Fault in Our Stars, with a big movie premier and over 800,000 book sales. Other big books have been Divergent and Gansta Granny, which made respectable sales on their own.
While kids books made a strong standing this year, YA was much stronger. Most of these books tackled difficult social topics, which gave them a lot of attention, and they latched onto the new YA readers by appealing to their sense of pacing and social views.
Video Game Books
Unless you’ve been under a rock, you’ve at least heard of Minecraft. Some of you have a brief understanding of the game, others have built elaborate structures or towns, and others may have just started their first dirt house. Prepare to be amazed: video game books have taken a surprising upswing in 2014. Egmont published four books on Minecraft covering everything from combating, construction and properly using Redstone. The majority of their books landed on the 2014 bestseller list (the construction book was actually number two on the list!)
This is, in many regards, a brand new genre. Instead of general strategy guides, this is a detailed look at the mechanics, and both kids and adults are loving it! While most games don’t allow for this level of exploration, it’s a worthy genre to delve into if you’re a gamer.
Memoirs and autobiographies used to be heavy hitters on bestseller list, but no longer. Aside from a few stragglers here and there, like memoirs from Guy Martin and Roy Keane, this subgenre has lost much of its power years ago. In the past, people would buy these books in droves as Christmas presents or to catch up on their favorite celebrities, but now the subgenre is largely forgotten.
Recipes and Cooking
This might be the most surprising downturn of all. Books about recipes and cooking had a major slump in 2014, despite the huge surge in crazy fad diets and general interest in cooking. This genre used to battle head-to-head with other giants like YA and crime fiction, but now it’s low on the list.
Many think that websites have taken away a majority of this genre’s power since you can easily go online and find great recipes, or it might be that no single book has been able to capture readers’ attention enough to get high marks on the bestsellers list. Either way, this genre is missing out on some of its former glory.
Speaking of losing former glory, another odd turn is non-fiction, which barely made it on the top 100 bestsellers list (the best spot was 54). Aside from a few gems here and there, like One Summer that described America in 1927, few others even breached the list. This was also another mighty genre that has fallen to its knees in the face of younger readers. However, there is a lesson to be learned here.
Most of the non-fiction books that made it to the list knew how to tell a story. They weren’t the dry non-fiction books of years ago. They appealed to readers who wanted something interesting to read while also learning something new. If you are writing non-fiction, then be sure to pay attention to writing style just as much as factual accuracy.
There were a number of huge changes in 2014. Youth books are running the bestseller list, and video game books took everyone by surprise. What this is showing is that today’s readers are younger than usual, and they are expecting books that cater to their sensibilities. Surprisingly enough, many of these books also appeal to adults. While there were also some surprising downturns, it’s too early to say if most of them (like cooking and non-fiction) are really doomed. These trends are telling of what new readers want, but don’t it discourage you if you have a book in one of the currently unpopular genres. You could always make the next bestseller that revitalizes a genre.
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Learn more HERE!
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