The Most Popular Book Genres in 2021

You might be an avid reader yourself, might have just picked it up as a hobby, or may even be someone that has not read a book on their own accord. Regardless, it is very likely that you have at least heard of several of the book genres that will be in the discussion here.

That familiarity only speaks to the ever-present relevance of the most popular book genres and what makes them so great for their respective audiences. That also speaks about the author’s talent, the audience demands, and what it means to be a reader of that genre.

So, here we will present the most popular book genres of 2021, and follow that up with our reasons as to what makes those book genres especially worthwhile to read, even if they are nothing more than guilty pleasures, which could be its own genre considering just how many people consider plenty of the most popular books and book genres their own guilty pleasure!

We hope that 2022 can be just as better!


What the Most Popular Book Genres Indicate?

The most popular book genres are not identified with sales, but with trends, relevancy over a long period of time, number of searches, etc.

Popularity is also identified both digitally and in the real world, which means book sales do matter in some regards as well.

In other places, book launches can also be an indicator of popularity, for example, the book launch of J.K Rowling’s final Harry Potter novel in its series had people waiting in line and setting up tents, hoping to buy the book as early as possible.

That sort of hype clearly indicates that Harry Potter was one of the most popular books ever, but not in terms of genre, as that requires far more time to see which ones are truly popular.

For example, The Bible sits at the #1 bestselling spot, and the popularity of that book holds religious significance and is not defined by trends.

That is why the most websites list Don Quixote as the #1 bestselling book of all time, followed by A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens and Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien. Almost all of these in the top spots do have one thing in common, though. They are all stories of fiction, even if novels such as A Tale of Two Cities are set in the real world and around real-world events.

This shows that fiction is among the most popular book genres of all time, something that a quick Google Search will attest to. However, here we will also provide as to why.


The Most Popular Book Genres – Now Defined

Ghost Writing Heaven have put together the most popular book genres of 2021, citing a few examples that made it reach that point, as well as why these genres in particular find success far more than their counterparts.



Romance is and always will be a popular genre for the masses. Each and every one of us is looking for that true love, that romance story in our own lives that we get to live and get to remember, to cherish till the end of days.

The romance book genre fulfills that wishful thinking in terms of getting to live that story. Of course, it is not our story, but that is exactly what makes the romance genre one of the most popular book genres of 2021, as well as one of the most popular book genres of all time.

This particular genre is also one to fulfil the need to live through the fantasy of, say, finding true love in a world where the concept itself has faded away. It lets bored housewives rekindle their passion through imagining heated trysts and chance encounters, for people reminiscing to find a story that relates to them and their long-lost love.

There is no shortage of stories in this genre, and while there are certain tropes that it repeats, one is sure to find a steady mix of intrigue, interesting stories and characters, deep emotional tones, and intelligent themes.

However, being one of the most popular book genres also brings the average sort of book that far outnumber the diamonds in the rough, so to speak. They are called the ‘trashy romance novels.’ For every Outlander and Pride and Prejudice, there is sure to be ten other Fifty Shades types of romance novels that you will find, meaning that quality is one thing that is decidedly selective in this particular genre.



Books such as The Silence of the Lambs might be more well known for the movies, they spawned rather than the book itself, but this puts that book squarely in the mystery and psychological horror genre, which are two of the most popular book genres, finding fresh new ground in the trending charts of 2021.

Of course, with genres, there is always going to be an overlap, so The DaVinci Code fits squarely within this genre as well, and being regarded as one of the best mystery novels of all time, one can be hard pressed to think of why this genre in particular is so popular.

For one, the mystery genre does one thing very well; the mystery itself. Every reader wants to know the answer to ‘what happens next?’ when reading a book, and the build-up that these mystery novels provide is especially worthwhile for avid readers of the genre.

The hook keeps things interesting, and the fresh feeling of tapping into something unknown. In the age of the internet and smartphones, the mystery genre is still going strong, and considering how much mystery is left on the wayside with these new technologies, we at Ghost Writing Heaven think that this genre would find even more popularity in the coming years.


Fiction – Fantasy and Sci-Fi

Do you know just how many books one needs to sell to be considered a bestseller? Five thousand. Yes, you need to sell five thousand books to be put on a bestseller list, even if your genre is among the most popular book genres of all time.

Now, consider that the very first Harry Potter has 120 million copies sold worldwide, and J.R.R Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings has garnered sales in the 150 million ballpark, as of 2019.

These figures might be impressive, but considering that half of the top 10 bestsellers of all time fall into the Fantasy genres, it goes on to show just how much of a popularity powerhouse these genres have been.

The realm of Science Fiction in novels is no different. The legendary The Hobbit and the aforementioned Lord of the Rings might have kickstarted the more medieval fantasy genre as we know it with elves and orcs and dark lords, science fiction found its roots in Frank Herbert’s Dune.

However, the true popularity in Sci-Fi does not come from the grand space operas that it creates, but rather, from the grounded and more thought-provoking words of legendary novelists such as George Orwell, such as 1984 and Animal Farm. These are the types of novels that, over time, put Sci-Fi in one of the most popular book genres today, and that continues to be the case in 2021.


Young Adults

The Young Adult genre is one that has found its footing more recently, with many agreeing that it was novels such as the Hunger Games series—and their subsequent movie adaptation releases, that skyrocketed this genre into being one of the most popular book genres of all time, one that remains the truth today.

While this genre had always been around, the Young Adult genre was always a bit less popular before the Hunger Games. Some notable (and some recent) works include The Perks of Being A Wallflower, the Lord of the Flies published in the 1950s, and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.

Being among the most popular book genres, this particular genre has always been one that has struck a chord with more adult readers than young readers, even though this genre, particularly Young Adult Fiction, has always been targeted at the 14-18 years demographics.


Self-Help Books

Jordan Peterson released his self-help book, 12 Rule for Life, in 2018. Till date, it has sold over five million copies, and impressive feat in a short span of time.

In a post-pandemic world, self-help books are continuing to gain popularity. Almost every self-help book is both inspirational and eye-opening, and most people can find it refreshing how they actually try to put the reader in the driving seat of their life rather than provide them an exact direction where to go.

That is why this particular genre is now among the most popular book genres of 2021, and of all time. It stands on its own legs as a viable therapeutic experience for some readers, and can even be the antidote it deigns to be.



The most popular book genres have not changed that much overall, with the usual suspects still being among the top of the reader’s list in 2021.

Here, we provided some context as to why, so hopefully you might get to understand what makes people seeking love they might not find a more popular genre than one that actually helps them live life! Talk to us

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