Most Popular Book Genres: A Comprehensive Guide

Last Update:
Whenyouwrite is reader supported. When you purchase through referral links on our site, we may earn a commission... Learn more
most popular book genres

What are the most popular book genres? Have you ever wondered what genre your own story should be classified as? If so, then you’re in luck!

In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the most popular book genres and provide insight into which one best suits your story.

By understanding the different genres available and selecting one that fits your plot and characters, you’ll find yourself able to craft stories more easily than before.

So let’s get started; here’s what you need to know about the most popular book genres and how to choose one for writing your story!

Definition Of What Is A Genre?

A genre is a type of book or form of writing. It’s the classification that helps readers decide what kind of story they want to read. Genres are used in literature, film, and television too, but for our purposes here we’re talking about genres as it relates to books.

When looking at book genres there are two main broad categories: fiction and non-fiction. Fiction involves stories that have been made up by the author, while non-fiction includes biographies, histories, and other factual texts.

Within these two broad categories lies numerous subgenres like fantasy, mystery, science fiction, and historical fiction—just to name a few. Each subgenre offers its own set of conventions that make the genre distinct from all others.

Readers may find themselves drawn to certain genres more than others due to their personal preferences or interests; some people love romance novels while others prefer crime thrillers!

In order to classify what makes something “popular” we must first look at why someone might be drawn towards one particular genre over another. There could be many reasons behind this decision such as personal taste or past experiences with similar stories just to name a few.

Popularity can also be attributed to word-of-mouth recommendations or marketing campaigns within certain genres that draw attention from potential readers. Knowing how different audiences respond to various types of stories will help you understand what kinds of books you should consider when writing your story.

How Do We Classify What Is A “Popular Book”?

We often classify books in terms of genre, but what is a popular book? What makes it different from other titles out there on the shelves?

Defining what makes a book “popular” is a complex and subjective matter. There are many different factors that can influence a book’s popularity, such as the author’s reputation, the subject matter, the genre, the publisher’s marketing strategy, and even current events and trends. 

Some might consider a book to be popular if it sells a large number of copies, while others might define popularity based on critical acclaim, social media buzz, or word-of-mouth recommendations from friends and family.

One common way of classifying a popular book is by looking at its sales figures. Bestseller lists, such as those compiled by the New York Times or Amazon, are a useful tool for gauging which books are currently selling well. 

However, it’s important to keep in mind that not all popular books make it onto these lists, and some books that are considered classics or critically acclaimed might not have been bestsellers when they were first published. 

Ultimately, what makes a book popular is a combination of many different factors, and can vary depending on the audience, the time period, and the cultural context.

Popular books
Friends looking for books in a library

Should You Choose A Popular Book Genre When Planning To Write A Book?

When it comes to picking the right genre for your book, there are many bestselling book genres that you should choose from. Popular genres such as horror, fantasy, romance, and science fiction have been around since the dawn of literature. 

Genre fiction is a form of storytelling that has also become increasingly popular in recent times; these stories often focus on specific topics or themes.

If you’re looking to boost your book sales by choosing a popular genre, then doing some research into what readers like and don’t like can be helpful. There are certain elements that make a particular type of story more successful; these includes character depth, plot complexity, pacing, and resolution.

It’s important to know how each element works within the chosen genre before deciding if it suits your writing style

Choosing the best genre for your work involves finding one that not only appeals to readers but also fits with your unique story-telling approach.

Taking time to study books in different genres can help you decide where your own writing fits best.

Matching The Right Genre For Your Writing Style

It’s like trying to find a needle in a haystack: selecting the right genre for your writing style that is. Just as there are many different types of needles, so to are there numerous genres that authors can choose from when it comes to crafting their story.

These popular fiction genres include thrillers, historical fiction, romance novels, and more:

  • Thrillers
  • Historical Fiction
  • Romance Novels
  • Mystery/Suspense
  • Fantasy
  • Science Fiction
  • Adventure Stories

The above is just a very brief list as I cover the genres in more detail later on, but choosing the correct book genre is key to creating an engaging narrative that will draw readers in with its unique style and voice.

It’s important to study numerous works within each genre before you make your final decision – after all, you want your work to stand out among the rest! 

Each one of these popular genres has its own set of tropes and conventions which must be followed if you want your piece to be successful. Hence the need to stick to a genre that will match your writing style.

Once you have chosen the best fit for your story, embrace it wholeheartedly – let it guide your creative process until completion. With careful consideration, research, and knowledge of what makes a good story great, any aspiring author can become a master at matching the perfect genre for their writing style.

Finding The Top Selling Book Genres (According To Amazon)

Go to Amazon’s website: 

select books in the category
Go to Amazon’s website

The first step to finding the top-selling book genres on Amazon is to go to their website ( Once there, on the left of the search bar, there is a drop down menu that lets you search by category. Here select “Books”, then click the search box to show “all” books.

Look for the “Best Sellers” section: 

best sellers section in amazon
Go to Amazon’s website

Once there, just under the search bar, there is a “Best Sellers & More” tab. Select that.

Here it takes you to the overall “best sellers” page but lets get a little more specific. Here you can choose best sellers by Audio, Print, kindle, NYT (New York Times) Best sellers.Here Select “Print”.

On the “Books” page, you should see a section called “Best Sellers.”.

Sort by genre: 

sorting books by genre
Sort by genre

This section will display the top-selling books on Amazon (Print) in various categories.

To find the top-selling book genres on Amazon, you can use the site’s filtering options on the left.

Here are all the top level categories of the best sellers.Between the top level genres and their sub genres, you’ll find all the various genres, such as mystery, romance, science fiction, and more.

Look for trends:

top selling books in each genre
Look for trends

 As you browse through the top-selling books in each genre, take note of any trends or patterns you see. For example, you may notice that thrillers with female protagonists are particularly popular, or that dystopian science fiction is having a moment.

Use this information to inform your reading and/or writing choices. Once you have a sense of the top-selling book genres on Amazon, you can use this informationto make a better decision on the category you want to tackle. 

It’s worth noting that not every genre is going to have hundreds of bestselling books; certain topics might only have a handful at most due to niche appeal or lack of content available in that area.

But by exploring what’s currently popular and doing research on trends from previous years, you can start forming an idea about which books may sell well when you write your story.

So now it’s time to answer our original question: What genres sell the most books right now?

What Genres Sell The Most Books Right Now?

That’s the million dollar question for authors, isn’t it?

Fantasy and romance are two of the biggest-selling genres right now, and if you can combine the two in a unique way, you’ll have a good chance of boosting book sales. Look at how well the Twilight series did.

Thrillers, mysteries, and young adult fiction are also popular, but the key is to make sure your story stands out from the rest.

Which Book Genre Is The Most Popular Of All Time

When it comes to popular book genres, there are a few that stand out.

Fantasy books have been around for centuries and remain some of the most beloved. These stories capitalize on readers’ imaginations by introducing them to far-off lands populated by creatures both enchanting and dangerous. 

With elements of magic woven into their plotlines, fantasy books give readers an escape from reality while still providing exciting adventures they can get lost in.

Romance novels are another genre that has seen immense success over the years. Even though these types of books were once dismissed as “chick lit,” romance novels now occupy a wide swath of literary space. 

Whether set in historical times or the present day, romances captivate audiences with gripping tales of love, heartache, and triumph, often featuring strong female protagonists who overcome all odds to find true happiness.

From science fiction to mystery thrillers to young adult literature, there is no denying the vast array of genres available today – each offering something unique and special for its devoted fans.

There are so many different types of books out there; it’s no wonder why people turn to them time and again when looking for entertainment or enlightenment.

Moving forward we will explore a list of the most popular genres of all time.

popular book genres
A woman reading popular book genres

List Of The Most Popular Genres

Books have a unique power to transport readers into new worlds, providing an escape from the everyday. Whether it’s non-fiction or fantasy – there are countless genres of literature that can be explored and enjoyed.

But with so many different book genres, how do you decide which one is right for your story? To help answer this question, let’s take a look at 3 of the biggest categories, followed by a list of some of the most popular book genres out there.

  • Non-Fiction – This genre includes books about real people, places, events, and facts. It often covers topics such as history, science, current affairs and self-help. Non-fiction titles often seek to inform their readers on important subjects in an engaging way.
  • Fantasy – Adventure stories filled with mythical creatures like dragons, elves and wizards make up the fantasy genre. Usually set in fantastical lands far removed from our own reality, these books provide escapism through exciting tales of good versus evil.
  • Romance – Stories focusing on relationships between two individuals remain ever popular with readers who enjoy exploring the ups and downs of love together with characters they can root for. From steamy historical romances set centuries ago to contemporary ones taking place today – romance will always hold a special place in the hearts of many readers.

Here is a list of some of the more popular genres/categories out there. Remember though, there are much much more out there and if I had listed them all this article would never stop 🙂 

  • Fiction
    • Literary Fiction
    • Historical Fiction
  • Romance
    • Contemporary Romance
    • Historical Romance
    • Paranormal Romance
    • Erotic Romance
  • Mystery
    • Cozy Mystery
    • Police Procedural
    • Hard-boiled Detective
  • Thriller
    • Psychological Thriller
    • Techno Thriller
    • Spy Thriller
    • Legal Thriller
    • Medical Thriller
  • Science Fiction
    • Hard Science Fiction
    • Cyberpunk
    • Space Opera
    • Dystopian
    • Post-Apocalyptic
  • Fantasy
    • High Fantasy
    • Urban Fantasy
    • Epic Fantasy
    • Dark Fantasy
  • Horror
    • Supernatural Horror
    • Psychological Horror
    • Gothic Horror
    • Cosmic Horror
  • Young Adult
    • Contemporary YA
    • Fantasy/Sci-Fi YA
    • Romance YA
    • Mystery/Thriller YA
  • Non-fiction
    • Biography/Memoir
    • Autobiography
    • Celebrity Memoir
    • Political Memoir
  • History
    • Ancient History
    • World History
    • Military History
    • Cultural History
  • Self-help
    • Personal Development
    • Mindfulness
    • Happiness
    • Relationships
  • Business/Finance
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Investing
    • Marketing
    • Management
  • Travel
    • Guidebooks
    • Adventure Travel
    • Cultural Travel
    • Food and Wine Travel
  • Cookbooks
    • Regional Cuisine
    • Baking
    • Healthy Eating
    • Vegan/Vegetarian
List Of The Most Popular Genres
Mystery book in the library

As you can see, each of these genres has multiple sub-genres that offer different experiences and appeal to different types of readers. Romance novels can be set in different time periods, and can even have paranormal or erotic elements. 

Mystery and thriller novels can have different types of protagonists, such as detectives, lawyers or even spies. 

Science fiction and fantasy novels offer readers unique worlds and concepts, while horror novels can have different types of scary elements, such as supernatural or psychological.

Non-fiction books cover a wide range of topics, from personal development and mindfulness to history and politics. Biographies and memoirs offer insights into the lives of real people, while history books can offer a deep dive into past events and their impact on society. 

Self-help books offer guidance on how to improve different aspects of one’s life, while business and finance books provide advice and strategies for success in the workplace. 

Travel and cookbooks allow readers to explore new places and try new foods, and can offer inspiration for their next adventure in life.

List Of The Most Popular Nonfiction Genres

When it comes to popular non-fiction genres, books are categorized into a few main categories.

Religion and spirituality are one of the most common genres for non-fiction readers and writers alike, as these types of books deal with questions about life, existence, morality, faith, and other related topics.

Popular non-fiction also covers science and technology; biographies or memoirs; history; self-help; business; health and wellness; education and reference works; travel guides; music instruction books; cookbooks; art instruction manuals; legal resources – there’s an almost complete list.

Whatever your interest area may be, you’ll likely find something that resonates with you in this vast array of non-fiction literature.

  • Biography/Memoir
  • History
  • Self-help
  • Business/Finance
  • Travel
  • Cookbooks
  • Science
  • Technology
  • Politics
  • Religion/Spirituality
  • Sports
  • Health/Fitness
  • Art/Architecture
  • Music
Popular Nonfiction Genres
A girl looking for a nonfictional book

List Of The Most Popular Fiction Genres

Fiction is one of the most popular genres for books, and it’s no surprise why. From sweeping literary fiction to thrilling mysteries and children’s classics, there are endless possibilities when it comes to this genre. Whether you’re looking for a best-selling paperback or an ebook full of adventure, chances are you’ll find something that appeals to the wide world of fiction.

When searching through the available options, consider these popular subgenres:

Literary Fiction – Literary fiction often includes complex themes and characters as well as detailed descriptions and can include multiple storylines or points of view. Examples would be novels by authors like Jane Austen and George Orwell.

Mystery Books – Mystery books focus on suspenseful stories with unexpected endings. Popular examples include Agatha Christie’s classic works such as “Murder On The Orient Express” and more modern titles like Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code.

Children’s Books – These types of books usually have colorful illustrations and simple language intended for young readers but can also appeal to adults who enjoy nostalgia from their own childhood literature. Popular examples range from Dr Seuss’ ‘Oh! The Places You’ll Go’ to JK Rowling’s ‘Harry Potter.’

  • Literary Fiction
    • Contemporary Literature
    • Historical Fiction
    • Cultural Fiction
    • Satirical Fiction
    • Experimental Fiction
    • Women’s Fiction
  • Romance
    • Contemporary Romance
    • Historical Romance
    • Paranormal Romance
    • Romantic Suspense
    • Erotic Romance
    • Christian Romance
  • Mystery
    • Cozy Mystery
    • Hard-Boiled Detective Fiction
    • Police Procedural
    • Psychological Thriller
    • Legal Thriller
    • Medical Thriller
    • Historical Mystery
  • Thriller
    • Action Thriller
    • Spy Thriller
    • Political Thriller
    • Techno Thriller
    • Legal Thriller
    • Psychological Thriller
  • Science Fiction
    • Hard Science Fiction
    • Space Opera
    • Cyberpunk
    • Dystopian Fiction
    • Post-Apocalyptic Fiction
    • Time Travel Fiction
  • Fantasy
    • High Fantasy
    • Urban Fantasy
    • Sword and Sorcery
    • Paranormal Fantasy
    • Dark Fantasy
  • Horror
    • Supernatural Horror
    • Psychological Horror
    • Gothic Horror
    • Body Horror
    • Monster Fiction
  • Young Adult
    • Young Adult Romance
    • Young Adult Fantasy
    • Young Adult Science Fiction
    • Coming-of-Age Fiction
    • Dystopian Fiction
    • Paranormal Romance
  • Children’s Books
    • Picture Books
    • Early Reader Books
    • Middle-Grade Fiction
    • Young Adult Fiction
Popular Fiction Genres
Children’s books in a library

No matter what type of story you’re interested in writing about, there will always be a large audience eager for new pieces in any of these bestselling fiction genres. With so many different categories out there, finding the right fit shouldn’t be too hard; all it takes is some research into which style fits your narrative best.

List Of The Bestselling Audiobook Genres

Audiobooks have become increasingly popular in recent years, and many of the top-selling genres in print also do well in audio format (not all though). Mystery and thriller audiobooks are particularly popular, as the suspenseful plots and cliffhangers lend themselves well to the audiobook format. Romance and science fiction/fantasy also do well, as these genres often have loyal fan bases who enjoy listening to their favorite stories on the go.

In addition to fiction, non-fiction audiobooks also sell well. Self-help and personal development books are particularly popular, as people often listen to these types of books while commuting or exercising. Business and finance audiobooks are also popular among professionals who want to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and strategies.

Biographies and memoirs are another popular category in audiobooks, as listeners enjoy hearing about the lives of famous people and historical figures. 

History books and religious/spiritual texts also do well, as do health and fitness books. Finally, classic literature and literary fiction are also popular in audio format, as many people enjoy revisiting the classics or discovering new works in this genre. 

So as I mentioned above, here are some of the more common audiobook genres that are popular.

  • Mystery/Thriller
  • Romance
  • Science Fiction/Fantasy
  • Self-help/Personal Development
  • Business/Finance
  • Biographies/Memoirs
  • History
  • Religion/Spirituality
  • Health/Fitness
  • Classics/Literary Fiction

List Of The Least Popular Book Genres

While there is certainly a market for every genre of book, some genres tend to be less popular among readers than others. Erotic literature, for example, may have a limited audience due to its explicit content. Fan fiction, while beloved by some, is not typically as widely read as other types of fiction. 

Similarly, experimental fiction, which may be challenging or unconventional in its style or structure, may have a more limited audience.

Tragedy, while a classic literary genre, may not be as popular with modern readers who prefer more uplifting or escapist stories. Poetry, too, may have a smaller audience than other types of literature. 

Literary criticism, which analyzes and interprets literature, is a niche genre that may not appeal to a wide audience.

Textbooks, while essential for education, are typically not considered recreational reading and thus arenot as popular as other types of books. 

Self-published books may also struggle to find an audience, as they may not have the same level of marketing or distribution as books published by traditional publishing houses.

Finally, highly specialized non-fiction texts, such as academic texts on a narrow topic, may be of interest only to a very specific audience and thus have limited popularity.

Least Popular Book Genres
People looking for least popular books in the library
  • Erotic Literature
  • Fan Fiction
  • Experimental Fiction
  • Tragedy
  • Poetry
  • Literary Criticism
  • Textbooks
  • Self-published Books
  • Niche Non-fiction (e.g. highly specialized academic texts)

So before committing yourself entirely to one particular style or genre, make sure you do some research first to determine whether there’s still a large demand for it. Thats not to say the above list can be successful, they certainly can. There are quite a few self help books that have dont extremely well. Look at book by Tony Robbins for example.

But what im trying to say is there arnt as many “big hits” as they are in the more popular categories. So try and choose wisely – otherwise, you could end up wasting time on a project doomed from the start!

Most Profitable Books To Write

When writing a book, selecting the right genre can make all the difference. Just as the right outfit can make you feel confident and comfortable, the right genre can make your book stand out and appeal to the right audience. 

On the other hand, choosing the wrong genre can be like wearing a costume that doesn’t quite fit the occasion – it might look interesting, but it won’t make the right impression. 

So just as you would carefully consider the dress code before selecting an outfit, it’s important to carefully consider your target audience and the type of story you want to tell before choosing a genre for your book.

Anyway, back on track, but which genres should writers select in order to have the most profitable outcome? While certain classics such as fantasy and horror never go out of style, new genres continue to emerge every day—many thanks to platforms like Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP).

With KDP, authors can create their own custom genres for their stories and even combine existing ones together with ease.

 For example, a writer could mix elements of contemporary romance and paranormal suspense into one exciting book’s genre for readers who enjoy both worlds. The possibilities when it comes to crafting an interesting tale that appeals to modern audiences are truly limitless!

Authors now have more tools than ever before at their disposal – Making it easier that it used to be and allowing them greater freedom in how they want to write their books without sacrificing profitability or appeal. 

All it takes is some creativity and an understanding of what readers crave in today’s market. To ensure success, writers must keep up with changing trends while still staying true to themselves and their unique voices.

Do Book Genres Change In Popularity Over Time?

Books and genres have long been popular among readers. They set the tone for a story, provide context to a narrative, or serve as an introduction to something new. While genres are ever-evolving, there are some that remain timeless favorites:

  • Romance
  • Mystery
  • Fantasy
  • Historical Fiction
  • Science Fiction

The popularity of book genres changes over time due to reader preferences, no doubt about it, for example, in recent years there has been more interest in fantasy fiction than historical fiction. 

This shift is likely due to changes in culture and what stories readers can relate to. Additionally, trends come and go – one year it may be horror novels that hit bestseller lists while another year it could be romantic comedies.

Different Book Genres
A girl picking a historical fiction book in the library

It’s important for authors to understand these shifts so they can write books that will appeal to their target audiences. It’s clear that book genres hold immense power when it comes to capturing the attention of readers. The challenge lies not only in understanding which genre is currently popular but also in why certain ones become popular in the first place.

With this knowledge at hand, writers can craft tales that will captivate even the most demanding audience members.

Why Are There So Many Book Genres?

The existence of so many book genres can be attributed to the fact that people have diverse tastes and interests. Different genres offer readers the opportunity to explore various topics and themes that appeal to their individual preferences. 

For instance, some readers enjoy immersing themselves in complex plots and twists, which is why the mystery and thriller genres remain popular. Others might prefer the thought-provoking and informative nature of non-fiction books, which is why we have so many sub-genres of non-fiction. 

Ultimately, the sheer number of book genres is a testament to the vast range of human experiences and emotions, and our desire to understand and explore them through literature.

Moreover, book genres serve as a marketing tool for publishers and authors. By categorizing books into different genres, publishers can effectively market them to specific audiences and increase the chances of reaching readers who are most likely to be interested in the book’s subject matter. 

For authors, understanding the nuances of different genres can help them tailor their writing to meet the expectations and preferences of their target audience. This, in turn, can help to boost their book’s popularity and success. 

In short, while the vast array of book genres might seem overwhelming at times, they ultimately serve a vital purpose in helping readers find the books that speak to them and in helping authors and publishers connect with their audiences.

What Is The Difference Between Fiction And Non-Fiction Books?

Books come in various shapes and sizes, but there is one thing they all have in common: a genre. Genres are categories or styles of literature that help us to determine what type of book we’re reading. The two main genres are fiction and non-fiction books.

The first distinction between these two types lies within the definition of each genre; Fiction books contain imaginative stories created by an author, while Non-Fiction books provide readers with facts about real people, places, events, etc.

Here’s a breakdown of some key differences between the two:

  • Subject Matter – Fiction books explore imaginary worlds and characters, while non-fiction books provide information on true stories and factual data.
  • Purpose – Fiction books aim to entertain their reader through creative storytelling, while non-fiction books serve as educational resources for learning more about specific topics or subjects.
  • Style – Fiction novels often involve complex plotlines and character development, whereas non-fiction writing is typically formatted in an easy-to-understand manner.

When it comes to selecting which genre you should write your story in, only you can make this decision based upon your own personal interests and goals for the project. With so many different options available today from romance to mystery novels—the possibilities really are endless!

fiction and non fiction books
Fiction and Non-fiction books in the library

Some Quickfire And Common Q&A 

How do genres of books differ?

Genres of books are classified based on the subject matter, format, writing style, and intended audience.

What are the bestselling book genres?

The bestselling book genres are usually fiction, self-help, and thrillers.

How does the genre of a book affect its success?

Choosing the right genre can definitely help boost your book’s success by making it more appealing to a specific group of readers.

What are some specific genres of books?

Specific genres of books include romance, horror, adventure, science fiction, fantasy, mystery, and biography.

Which genre of books can make the most money?

The genre of a book depends on its author, subject matter, and audience. However, certain genres such as thriller and romance tend to make the most money in the world of literature.

What are the different categories and genres of books?

Some common categories and genres of books include historical fiction, young adult, cookbooks, biographies, and self-help.

What is the most popular book of all time and in which genre?

The most popular book of all time is religious text, but in the fiction world, Lord of the Rings is one of the most popular books in the genre of fantasy.

Why is it important for readers to know the different genres of books?

Knowing the different genres of books can help readers find a specific book to read based on their interests and preferences. It also helps to introduce readers to different styles and themes of writing.


Book genres are an important part of the writing process. They can help us to find our voice and hone our craft. Whether you choose a popular book genre or one that is more niche, it’s essential to consider what will work best for your particular story.

As we look back at books throughout history, they all have something unique in common – symbolism. This universal tool allows authors to express their true feelings and share meaningful lessons with readers through their stories.

By understanding the different types of book genres available to us and leveraging them thoughtfully, we can create truly magical works of art that last long after those first few pages are read.

Photo of author


Jessica started off as an avid book reader. After reading one too many romance novels (really... is it ever really enough?), she decided to jump to the other side and started writing her own stories. She now shares what she has learned (the good and the not so good) here at When You Write, hoping she can inspire more up and coming wordsmiths to take the leap and share their own stories with the world.