Publishing Insights | Amazon & Goodreads Best Books of 2019
As an aspiring author, do you know what the hottest trends in the book publishing world are right now? If not, it might be time to start doing some research.
One of the biggest secrets of best-selling authors is that many play a perpetual game of follow the leader. In 2005, the Twilight saga catapulted vampires into the publishing spotlight. Later in 2008, books like The Hunger Games made dystopian sci-fi go vogue.
In each of the above cases, writing purposefully for audiences left hungry for more by authors like Stephenie Meyer, saw several otherwise unknown authors become best-selling authors in the process.
Best-Selling Book & eBook Trends of 2019
No one likes a copycat. However, authors who research what’s trending in the book world, stand a much better chance of making meaningful book sales.
To help point aspiring authors in the right publishing direction in 2019, we’ve compiled three lists of 2019’s top-selling books and ebooks. To do this, we’ve sourced data from the official Amazon top 100 best-selling book and ebook list, and the Goodreads best books list of 2019.
The Amazon Top 100 Best-Selling eBook List
We can’t review every ebook on Amazon’s top 100 best-selling ebook list. However, we have been able to review the first top 5 titles. As of March 2019, these are as follows:
- The Killer Collective, by Barry Eisler
- The Forgotten Hours, by Katrin Schumann
- Blood for Blood, by Victoria Selman
- The Snow Gypsy, by Lindsay Jayne Ashford
- Where the Forest Meets the Stars, by Glendy Vanderah
What is immediately noticeable, is the fact that just two genres dominate this list.
Without giving away too many spoilers, The Killer Collective and Blood for Blood, are fast past crime thrillers. Both feature violent imagery, and readers have described both books as “high octane.” Conversely, The Forgotten Hours, The Snow Gypsy, and Where the Forest Meets the Stars, couldn’t be more different.
Each of the latter three titles are works of contemporary fiction. Moreover, all three titles share several characteristics.
Each of the three titles features a strong female protagonist
Protagonists start each story burdened by a backstory of personal tragedy
Each title brings together otherwise disparate characters, who work together to reconcile memories of past personal tragedies
The Forgotten Hours, The Snow Gypsy, and Where the Forest Meets the Stars, also focus heavily on the unraveling of a profound personal mystery of some kind. Each, therefore, carries undertones of suspense, which keep readers turning pages as mysteries deepen.
The Amazon Top 100 Best-Selling Hardcover & Paperback Book List
Moving on to hardcovers and paperbacks, Amazon’s top 5 bestselling print books at present are as follows:
Becoming, by Michelle Obama
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondō
Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are so You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be, by Rachel Hollis
Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens
Educated: A Memoir, by Tara Westover
It is instantly apparent that Amazon’s best-selling hardcover and paperback titles share few commonalities with Amazon’s best-selling ebooks.
Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens, is the only work of fiction in our list. Moreover, Where the Crawdads Sing is one of only seven works of fiction featured in Amazon’s full list of 100 bestsellers.
Otherwise, best-selling hardcovers and paperbacks on Amazon currently fall into two distinct categories. Either books are autobiographical, or books take the form of witty, fun, and potentially inspiring self-help books. That said, titles in Amazon’s best-selling book list do share some commonalities.
Best-selling authors in our list are all female
Titles predominantly target female reading audiences
It is also worth noting that Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens, follows a similar formula to three of the best-selling ebooks in our previous ebook list.
To call Where the Crawdads Sing a work of formula fiction would be unfair. However, like The Forgotten Hours, The Snow Gypsy, and Where the Forest Meets the Stars, Where the Crawdads Sing follows a strong female protagonist. The book can also be described as a coming of age story with undertones of mystery, self-discovery, and heartbreak.
Goodreads Best Books of 2019
Is contemporary fiction in a state of decline? Amazon’s best-selling hardcover and paperback book list might seem to suggest this. However, the reality is a little more complicated.
Self-help books, autobiographies and non-fiction books, are often more aggressively marketed by mainstream publishers. To get a feel for what’s really trending as far as fiction is concerned we’ve, therefore, pulled the below titles from Goodreads best books of 2019.
The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air, Book 2), by Holly Black
The Silent Patient, by Alex Michaelides
An Anonymous Girl, by Greer Hendricks
King of Scars (Nikolai Duology, Book 1), by Leigh Bardugo
On the Come Up, by Angie Thomas
What is interesting about the above list, is the fact that The Silent Patient and An Anonymous Girl, are both high octane thrillers similar to Amazon’s The Killer Collective and Blood for Blood. Conversely, The Wicked King and King of Scars, can be best described as fantasy fiction works, similar to the likes of George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series.
What Publishing Insights Can we Glean from the Above Lists?
Aspiring and best-selling authors alike can take several takeaways from the data we’ve compiled. First and foremost, suspenseful crime thrillers are definitely in vogue at present. Both Amazon and Goodreads readers show a preference for fast-paced, action-packed dramas, complete with a peppering of political conspiracy.
Secondly, coming of age contemporary fiction is also in vogue. However, as we’ve touched upon ever so slightly, several best-selling titles all seem to be already following a similar formula.
Thirdly, female protagonists and authors seem to be more popular among book readers than male protagonists and authors. This is significant, especially considering that just 20-years ago, J. K. Rowling was still using her initials to obfuscate her gender when submitting Harry Potter to publishers.
What’s Not Trending & What Trends Shouldn’t Authors be Following?
Just a few short years ago, dystopian science fiction seemed to be everywhere. However, trends at present seem to suggest that the genre has fallen out of fashion.
It is also worth noting that epic fantasy works which follow a Game of Thrones like formula, also seem (albeit slowly) to be falling out of fashion. Aspiring authors may, therefore, want to avoid the genres mentioned above. That is unless they are capable of presenting book lovers with something wholly new and exciting in 2019.