This week has been an interesting one, the niches and trends we are used to seeing well were often a lot lower down the pecking order than expected. And, of course, there were some unexpected hits this week that we did not see coming. But let us show you what we mean.
First off the fascination with World War Two that was so clear the last few weeks has lessened a tad, and is now limited to the History Books rather than invading any of the other genres to such an overwhelming degree as it has been. Instead, the charts seem to be filling up with books by and about current political entities, probably spurred on by the political situation in the US. There are also a surprising number of recipe books in the historical category, but it is having only a limited impact on the Non-Fiction Charts, where biographies and tell-alls are proving more popular.
Science Fiction has some very clear trends this week, Dystopias and Apocalypses are hitting very high, while on the Science Fiction Romance side of the aisle Alien Invasions are selling like hot cakes. A. G. Riddle’s books are selling well in both categories, continuing that trend of one very dedicated author and the fandom they command.
In Fantasy things are a bit more varied, it was quite hard to figure out what the trends were at all! This was partly because Paranormal Romance was a huge ingredient of the mix, but once you took that out there were a few surprises – namely Mary Robinette Kowal’s Science Fiction book, The Fated Sky, and V. E. Schwab’s, Vengeful, a Superhero story, both doing very well on the chart despite not being quite what anyone would expect to find there. Moving towards things a bit more traditional for the category, Magical Realism and Secondary World Fantasy, were both popular this week, proving that Fantasy readers have a varied shelf to choose from, if nothing else.
LGBT books are sticking to some older trends, most notably a definite preference for Gay stories over Lesbian, Bisexual, Trans or any other part of the acronym. And in the more literary novels this week LGBT people are often not even the main character in the books that are supposed to be about them. Disappointing, that. In LGBT Romance it is much the same story, we had to go into Lesbian Romance specifically just to bring anything like balance to the post. What we found was pretty surprising, in the Lesbian category the books there were far more light-hearted and more focused on Holiday Romances and Second Chances than Dark Romance, as in Gay Romance this week. The Heat level was also much, much higher in the Gay Romance category, with a lot of books I would have labelled as Erotica rather than Romance.
In Romance, Mystery and Thrillers are having a fairly big impact, as are Literary Fiction Novels. There is still some interest for Sports Romance, but much less than last week, Military and Men in Uniform Romances are doing better, however. Some things never change though, and Paranormal Romance’s hold on the Romance Genre as a whole is one of them. These tend to feature a human, or outsider heroine, with a non-human, or more powerful hero. Often they are both options. This is another Category where the world is regularly in need of saving, and it usually falls to the main characters to do so. Meanwhile, Shape Shifters are the most popular Non-Human choice, with Fae and Witches coming a decent second, with Demons, Angels, and Vampires bringing up the rear. And of course, Reverse Harems are being found in just about every Romance genre, except for Historical Romance.
In Historical Romance, things have stuck to the usual patterns. Highlanders and Cowboys are always popular, and Regency Romances are the backbone, and much of the reset of the skeleton, of the genre. There were some interesting trends this week, Mail Order Brides were very popular in Cowboy Romances. While Dukes and Rogues are everywhere on the pages of Regency Novels. In Highland Romances you cannot shake a stick without hitting a warrior of some sort,which would be an unfortunate thing to do if you were not also the sort of brave and determined heroine they seem to be favouring this week. Over all, women in this week’s Historical Romance chart have tended to be very well educated, with a surgeon, numerous governesses, and an Astronomer among their ranks.
Magical High Schools and Academy stories are doing very, very well. They make up huge portions of the Teen and Young Adult, the Paranormal Romance, and the Fantasy categories. Partly we can blame this on Harry Potter, but the trend started before then and is likely to continue for a long time. This is becoming a pretty crowded niche, with a lot of first books in series popping up, only for later on the series to fizzle out without a proper ending. The Harley Merlin Series, by Bella Forrest, is still going numerous books into the series, but it might be a good idea to look at how many other similar book series have not managed to get as far.
So, a busy week with lots of new trends and niches doing battle with old ones. Some are too well entrenched to be shifted, while others have lost the high ground and are being scooped up and out of the way by determined foes. So, see anything you disagreed with? Tell us in the comments! And if you saw something you agreed with or liked a lot, please leave a comment too!