Thursday, November 28, 2013

What are people reading? Not what they were reading 20 years ago...

This fascinating little article appeared a few days ago in USA Today. USA Today has been tracking book trends since 1993. Among the more notable trends over the past two decades is an increase in fiction bestsellers. Why?
"People today are looking for escape...Fiction provides that. In the '90s and early 2000s, we were in a different economic time. People were living the dream, not just dreaming it. "
Other significant trends: 
  • Erotica is now mainstream (apparently, "dreaming" sex is better than the real thing)
  • An increase in translations (due, in large part, to a girl with a tattoo)
  • A decrease in bestselling self-help books (people would rather dream about sex)
  • An increase in children's and teen books (not just for kids anymore)


By Bob Minzesheimer and Anthony DeBarros , USA TODAY, October 30, 2013

What 20 years of best sellers say about what we read...

How has your reading changed in the past 20 years? From readers shopping in brick-and-mortar bookstores, to the dominance of game-changing online sellers, to a digital era of e-reading and instant delivery, the book industry has gone through monumental change. And USA TODAY has been there all along. Look through 20 years of best-selling books.

When USA TODAY began its Best-Selling Books list 20 years ago, J.K. Rowling was a struggling unknown writer teaching English in Portugal. Suzanne Collins was helping to write a children's TV show for Nickelodeon called Clarissa Explains It All.

And the word "Amazon" brought to mind a river in South America or a very tall woman.

A lot has changed in two decades.

Driven by, about half of all books are now bought online, a click away. More than 20% are downloaded. Some 40% of adults have e-readers, tablets or other devices to read e-books.

And Rowling and Collins? They have a combined total of 225 million copies in print of the books (10 in all) of their two series for children and teens, Harry Potter and The Hunger Games.

Two decades worth of data show what's changed — and what hasn't — since USA TODAY began tracking best sellers in October 1993.

The highlights from three distinct eras:

• Self-help and other advice titles were big during the first five years (1993-1998) when most books were bought in physical bookstores.

• Rowling triggered Dickens-like excitement about reading and demolished the conventional wisdom about children's books in the second era (1999-2008), when online sales grew.

• Since 2009, fiction (as a percentage of best sellers) has risen to all-time highs and erotica went mainstream as e-books became the fastest growing part of the market.

Read the rest of this article HERE.

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