Popular Genres of Fiction Books

Fiction books represent about 16 percent of the total books published in the U.S. each year, but their sales numbers and power to stay in print traditionally exceed those of nonfiction books.  With e-Book sales increasing every quarter, officially eclipsing the sales of paperback books in February, 2011, brand-new and older fiction books are increasingly popular.

Genre Fiction books are Most-Read in Libraries

Libraries are a great resource for information about books and reading.  Library Journal is the official publication of the library industry.  According to Library Journal, in 2005, fiction book purchases by libraries overtook purchases of nonfiction (How-to, health, biography, cookbooks, history) titles.  In 2010, fiction books comprised the majority of books ordered by all libraries across the U.S.

Library Journal reported that “fiction remains the king of circulation” in 2010, and singled out the “rich and undersung standouts of genre fiction” as the most-popular books.  Library Journal covers books in the major fiction genres of Christian Fiction, Science Fiction and Fantasy, Thrillers, Romance and Mystery.

Bestselling Fiction books are Genre Books

The top-five bestselling books of all time are the foundation books of major world religions (The Bible is number one, with an estimated 6 billion total copies sold), but number six is the first Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, by J.K. Rowling, with an estimated 107 million copies sold as of 2010.  Number seven on the all-time list with 100 million copies sold is And Then There Were None, the classic mystery by Agatha Christie, while number eight is Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien.  Dan Brown’s thriller The Da Vinci Code is number ten on the list, with 65 million copies sold.  Agatha Christie must be considered the “queen” of modern fiction book writers.  The mystery writer wrote 85 books, with an estimated 2 billion books in print to date.

According to the Romance Writers of America, which has the largest membership of any genre writers association, romance was the single largest adult fiction book genre category in 2009, with 13.2 percent of the market share. Religious and inspirational books are the next-largest category, with approximately 9 percent of the fiction book market.  Mysteries and thrillers represent about 8 percent of the fiction book market, while science fiction and fantasy books represent 6 to 7 percent of the total fiction books sold.


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