The most popular genre of books depends on the format and situation. The bestselling book genre is romance and the most profitable fiction book genre. Religious & inspirational books are the most popular non-fiction genre, whilst thrillers are the most popular audiobooks. 
 
As a writer heading into a world where over 1 million books have already been self-published, it is important to get any edge you can. 
 
Therefore, it is only natural to ask the question - which book genre is most popular? 
 
However, to answer this question we must delve a little deeper. 
 
In this article, you’ll discover:
 
  • A list of most popular book genres.
  • The bestselling book genres.
  • Book genres that make the most money.
  • Most Competitive book genres on Kindle.
  • Least Competitive book genres on Kindle.
 
Bestselling Book Genres


List of Most Popular Book Genres


Before we look at book genres in detail, let’s first examine the best selling fiction books and non-fiction books. 
 
Please note, that the publishing industry refers to the groups into which books are grouped as ‘genres’. However, if you look at Amazon you will see that these are called ‘categories’.
 
There are some differences between the publisher’s genres and Amazon’s categories, but for this article, they have been used interchangeably. You may also find that some people group books slightly differently, but in most situations the meaning is clear.

Most Popular Fiction Genres

  • Fantasy.
  • Science Fiction.
  • Dystopian.
  • Adventure.
  • Romance.
  • Detective & Mystery.
  • Horror.
  • Thriller.
  • LGBTQ+.
  • Historical Fiction.
  • Young Adult (YA).
  • Children’s Fiction.

Most Popular Nonfiction Genres

  • Memoir & Autobiography.
  • Biography.
  • Cooking.
  • Art & Photography.
  • Self-Help/Personal Development.
  • Motivational/Inspirational.
  • Health & Fitness.
  • History.
  • Crafts, Hobbies & Home.
  • Families & Relationships.
  • Humor & Entertainment.
  • Business & Money.
  • Law & Criminology.
  • Politics & Social Sciences.
  • Religion & Spirituality.
  • Education & Teaching.
  • Travel.
  • True Crime.



Bestselling book genres


When you look at best selling fiction books and non fiction books on Amazon and consider the numbers of books sold, the popularity of books genre differs between paper books and ebooks. 
 
The top five selling categories for hard copy books on Amazon are: 

  1. Memoirs and Biographies.
  2. Self Help.
  3. Religion and Spirituality.
  4. Health, Fitness, and Dieting.
  5. Politics and Social Sciences.
The top five selling categories for ebooks on Amazon are: 

  1. Religion and Spirituality.
  2. Biographies and Memoirs.
  3. Business and Money.
  4. Self Help.
  5. Cookbooks, food, and vine.

Book Genres That Make the Most Money


Since different book genres have different expectations from readers, some genres are more profitable per book than others. This means that whilst a genre might sell fewer books, they may be more profitable. 

A recent report examined the overall profitability of each book genre. 

The top five more profitable categories on Amazon.com are: 

  1. Romance/Erotica ($1.44 billion).
  2. Crime/Mystery ($728.2 million). 
  3. Religious/Inspirational ($720 million).
  4. Science Fiction/Fantasy ($590.2 million). 
  5. Horror ($79.6 million). 

Bestselling Audiobook Genres 


In recent years, audiobooks have become increasingly popular with the success of services such as Audible (LINK). A recent report (https://www.audiopub.org/uploads/pdf/APA-Sales-Survey-Press-Release-July-2019-with-2018-Data.pdf), showed audiobook sales increased by nearly 25% between 2017 and 2018, and total sales approached nearly $1 billion.

Popular Audio Book Genres


The top five bestselling genres of audiobook are: 

  1. Literature & Fiction.
  2. Fiction % Literature.
  3. Mystery, Thriller & Suspense.
  4. Science Fiction
  5. Fantasy.
  6. Romance.
  7. Business & Money.

Least & Most Competitive Book Genres on Kindle


Some writers are interested in the competitiveness of certain book genres and show interest in learning where publishing opportunities might exist. 
 
The top ten most competitive Amazon categories are: 
 
  1. Romance -> Contemporary.
  2. Literature & Fiction -> Contemporary Fiction -> Women.
  3. Romance -> New Adult & College.
  4. Literature & Fiction -> Contemporary Fiction -> Romance.
  5. Literature & Fiction -> Women -> Romance.
  6. Literature & Fiction -> Genre Fiction -> Coming of Age.
  7. Romance -> Mystery & Suspense -> Suspense.
  8. Science Fiction & Fantasy -> Fantasy -> Paranormal & Urban.
  9. Literature & Fiction -> Genre Fiction -> Erotica.
  10. Literature & Fiction -> Women -> Mystery, Thriller & Suspense -> Women Sleuths.

The top ten least competitive Amazon categories are: 
 
  1. Nonfiction -> Science -> Experiments, Instruments & Measurement -> Microscopes & Microsocopy.
  2. Nonfiction -> Business & Money -> Taxation -> Corporate.
  3. Business & Money -> Taxation -> Corporate.
  4. Science -> Experiments, Instruments & Measurement -> Microscopes & Microsocopy.
  5. Professional & Technical -> Engineering -> Civil -> Hydrology.
  6. Nonfiction -> Professional & Technical -> Engineering -> Civil -> Hydrology.
  7. Nonfiction -> Science -> Experiments, Instruments & Measurement -> Weights & Measures.
  8. Science -> Experiments, Instruments & Measurement -> Weights & Measures
  9. Nonfiction -> Crafts, Hobbies & Home -> How-to & Home Improvements -> Masonry.
  10. Crafts, Hobbies & Home -> How-to & Home Improvements -> Masonry.