What do people like to read?

A Midwest Writers Workshop attendee asked about consumer trends in the book business. Of course, agents can only speculate on trends that could emerge in a year or two and are wary if interest in a particular subgenre appears to be declining. Starting a trend would be ideal.

Results of a Harris Poll conducted in the U.S. in August 2010 give a statistical view of the subject, breaking readership down into broad categories. Poll results indicate mystery, thriller, and crime genres are the most popular with readers of fiction.

Those polled also were asked to name their favorite authors. Details are available in a press release at Harris Interactive.

2 Replies to “What do people like to read?”

  1. I finally had a chance to click through to the poll itself. It’s interesting reading. I note that the results are based solely on an internet poll, which skews the responses in certain socioeconomic ways… though perhaps less so in the past. And for that matter, phone polling skews responses in other socioeconomic ways, as the young’uns increasingly opt to sever their landlines, and with polling to cellular phones still (I believe) against the law.

    Harris’s final results are a very believable snapshot of American reading habits. I do wonder about the inclusion of the “chick-lit” and “western” categories of fiction; the former I find to be a somewhat derogatory term, the latter a somewhat small category? But then, I’m not the target audience for either.

  2. Another variable this poll didn’t try to account for was how many books a romance novel fan was likely to read in contrast to a crime fiction fan. I was surprised that fantasy wasn’t included in the categories.

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