View Full Version : Publishing trends from previous decades

11-20-2010, 05:23 AM
If someone who lives under a rock asked me to describe the publishing trend of this decade, I would definitely say that it's supernatural and urban fantasy - witches, wizards, and vampires. For those who were around back then, what would you say the equivalent trends were for previous decades - the 90s, the 80s, the 70s? And also, what do you think will be the next big trend in books? Or are we going to ride the Harry Potter-Twilight wave into the next decade? (Also, if you think the current trend in publishing is something else entirely, please do share that as well). Thanks!

11-20-2010, 05:45 AM
I have no idea, and I doubt anyone else does, either. "Trend" is usually no more than whatever makes news. In pretty much every decade, romance novels are number one, mysteries are number two, and everything else comes in last. This was true way back when, and it's still true today.

Even fantasy is pretty low on the list overall. Huge bestsellers aside, fantasy, including witches, wizards, and vampires, is usually a very small part of the market.

11-20-2010, 05:49 AM
Even fantasy is pretty low on the list overall. Huge bestsellers aside, fantasy, including witches, wizards, and vampires, is usually a very small part of the market.

Perhaps that's true - I don't know the actual data. But I was asking about the big headline types of books, which consequently inspired many similar types from other authors. I'm thinking specifically of Harry Potter and Twilight. I honestly have no idea what share of the market consists of fantasy books, but I do know that every single public library that I walk into has a huge "Witches, Wizards, and Vampires" section, which wasn't there 10 years ago.

Susan Littlefield
11-20-2010, 06:42 AM
Well, when I was a teenager and young adult- V. C. Andrews' Flowers in the Attic series was popular. I read some, but soon got bored. I always loved the classics.

When I was preteen, The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew books were good reads. Loved the Little House on the Prairie books too.

Mom read all of the historical fiction by John Jakes too in the 70's. I remember kids from high school reading those.

Of course, in 1974 Stephen King's Carrie started a trend that still lives today.

Susan Littlefield
11-20-2010, 06:44 AM
James is right on about the romance novels. I tried reading some Harlequin's but soon got bored. To this day I don't like formula romances.

11-20-2010, 02:11 PM
It's most accurate to say genre romance comes first, and everyone else is far behind. As given here (http://www.rwanational.org/cs/the_romance_genre/romance_literature_statistics):
Romance fiction: $1.36 billion in estimated revenue for 2009
Religion/inspirational: $770 million
Mystery: $674 million
Science fiction/fantasy: $554 million
Classic literary fiction: $462 million
Of course, definitions matter. Are thrillers included in mystery? Is horror included in f/sf? Which forms of "urban fantasy" are included in fantasy and which are considered romance? I don't know. You'd have to consult the source to find out.

11-20-2010, 03:03 PM
Horror in YA/MG was huge in the nineties. I know this because I practically read every single horror novel on the shelf in my local libra(ries).

I also remember trends involving horses, girls in clubs, or secret societies (clubs in general, not just babysitting clubs), sororities...

And there was - of course - the huge trend for long running series. You don't see that so much these days, but back in the nineties, everything came in huge, HUGE series. You didn't get one book, you got twenty books, and if it wasn't twenty or fifty, you were probably looking at a figure over 100.

I had no idea what was going on the the adult lit world in the last decade though. And I'm also not confident enough to predict what's coming ahead. ;p

11-20-2010, 04:36 PM
... hard to say? I think in general huge sellers create trends, if anything. So as a result of Twilight, countless knock-offs have hit the shelves and will continue to for many years yet. Same with Harold Potter. Going way back in time, Don Quixote created a similar effect. Hundreds and hundreds of similar works were produced in wake of its popularity in the decades and century following. That may not be enough to qualify these examples as trends, though? I'm sure there are thoughts on the subject by critics. It's an intriguing question, however elusive the answer.

ps I see I've cross-posted with you a bit up above:

I'm thinking specifically of Harry Potter and Twilight.

12-12-2010, 07:54 PM
The 80's sure started off good with John Irving rockin' the cover of Time Magazine (http://www.achievement.org/achievers/irv0/large/irv0-004.jpg) lookin' all Miami Vice.

ETA: Jeez, maybe because I'm writing too many DS fact sheets, but here's a cool site (http://flavorwire.com/111454/15-writers-whove-graced-the-cover-of-time) with 15 novelists who've been on Time covers.