What Ebooks Are Readers Reading?

(photo: HarperLibrary)

(photo: HarperLibrary)

According to Digital Book World, “dystopian young adult novels with a female protagonist caught in a love triangle might be wearing thin with readers.” So, does this mean the end of series like The Hunger Games and Divergent? Just remember, the industry repeatedly turned down Anne Rice’s first vampire novel, claiming “vampires are dead.”

At least the publishing pundits on a recent DBW panel acknowledged “there’s no silver bullet” guaranteed to capture readers’ attention. Thus their dog-bites-man advice to writers to produce “compelling stories.”

One trend panelists did note is increased interest in true crime (is this “non-fiction dystopia”?), mysteries, and thrillers, perhaps because of the runaway popularity of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, reviewed here in 2013. They also debunked the publishing rule of thumb that readers aren’t interested in characters that don’t resemble themselves. I guess this explains Hannibal Lecter.

In addition, panelists predicted:

  • Continued low prices of ebooks and growth of ebook subscription services, which are low-risk ways for readers to try new authors
  • More erotica, romance, and literary fantasy (e.g., Game of Thrones)
  • More writers of color among mainstream literary authors
  • Classics and back-list titles (cheap for publishers to produce)
  • In July, publication of the “next blockbuster”??—The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen. Lots of hype, many disgruntled pre-pub readers on GoodReads and Amazon.
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