What Readers Want from Writers in 2022 (2023)

Every author wants to sell more books and reach more readers. Today, the Alliance of Independent Authors is featuring a new infographic about world reading habits from Global English Editing, summarising key research about global reading habits and what readers want from writers in 2022.

Reading is the key topic of many different surveys globally but, while there is plenty of data on reading habits (see the list of sources below), it is often difficult to compare the individual results and to put them into perspective. Different surveys focus on various topics and follow different methodologies.

Looking at reading trends in America and around the world in 2021, recent research from Global English Editing and Written Word Media reveals many interesting facts about reader habits and inclinations, useful when thinking about what readers want from writers in 2022.

What Readers Want: Format

Print Books and Ebooks

What Readers Want from Writers in 2022 (1)

Though ebooks and audiobooks are increasingly popular, print books continue to trump in the researched book market, with 66% of readers across the globe saying print offers “a more fulfilling and unique reading experience”.

  • Over 1.5 million book titles published in 2021, with printed book sales increasing by 18.5% during the first half of the year.
  • 2021’s total book revenue generated $26 billion, of which ebooks generated 9%. Overall, ebook sales declined marginally by 8%.
  • 2021 saw ebook sales decline by 8%, with print books outselling ebooks 4 to one.

The knowledge that lots of ebook and digital audiobook sales are uncounted must temper these figures. The research does not include authors selling directly to readers and those who sell ebooks and audiobooks without an ISBN. Nonetheless, the resilience of print is clear.

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The most significant player in the audiobook market is Audible, offering over 200,000 titles on their platform.

What Readers Want from Writers in 2022 (2)

What Readers Want: Genre

What Readers Want from Writers in 2022 (3)

When looking at the various genres and sales volumes, fiction, romance, fantasy, and sci-fi topped the list, across the globe.

  • Romance continues to dominate and is still the most profitable fiction genre worldwide.
  • Crime/ Mystery comes in second place, with religious and Inspirational titles leading the way in most popular non-fiction.
  • The adaptation of books into blockbuster TV series and movies is growing and having an influence on the book market
  • The most considerable increase, by far, was in the genre of graphic novels, sales of which rose by a staggering 146%.

Do Readers Prefer Books in a Series or Standalone Books?

Publishing a series of makes it easier for author sand publishers make a profit. Offering the first book in a series for free or low-cost is a great way to attract new readers and when hooked, they will want to read the rest of the series. But how do readers feel? It seems most are indifferent. Written Word Media research found that:

  • 14% of readers said they prefer a series
  • 26% said they prefer standalone books
  • 60% said they have no preference.

This means that whichever way works for you, will work for a majority of readers, so long as each book in the series fully wrapped up, before leading into the next. Readers were adamant that they dislike cliffhangers at the end of a book.

What Readers Want 2022: Good Metadata

When reading a series, readers want to find the following books in the series easily. They also want good book descriptions and othermetadata.

No reader is out there saying “give me good metadata”, but it is metadata that tells readers why a particular book is one for them. This includes the title, author, publisher, format and ISBN but especially the less factual metadata: genre, categories, cover and book description.

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For readers, the book description is what's most important. “When asked to rank the importance of several factors when choosing a book,” says Written Word Media, “57% of readers surveyed said the book descriptionwas the most important factor. Next most important was price at 37% and author at 23%.

Readers want accurate descriptions of what a book is about…not clever cover copy that leaves them wondering. There's a big difference between a “romance novel” and a “Regency romance”, for example. A thriller and a cosy mystery. A serious story and a light-hearted comedy. A book set in Manhattan and in rural Iowa.

Your description is key to attracting the right readers and setting the right expectations.

Covid-19 and Lockdowns Impact on Reading Habits

What Readers Want from Writers in 2022 (4)
Covid-19 decimated almost every industry, and the education, publishing and bookselling sectors were no exception. Forced school closures and disruptions led to over 100 million children across the globe falling below the minimum proficiency level in reading. Developing nations particularly saw a decrease in the literacy rate in 2021.

Issues such as the lack of technology, power disruptions, and the costs associated with online schooling were the most significant factors. These unprecedented numbers are likely to rise with the discovery of new coronavirus variants.

What Readers Want from Writers in 2022 (5)

On the bright side, the pandemic helped thousands to rediscover their love of books.

35% of people in the world have read more books than usual since COVID began. More people at home, out of work, searching for meaning, means more reading.

Research by the UK Reading Agency found 1 in 3 adults reading more during lockdowns, rising to almost one in two (45%) 18-24-year-olds.

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What Readers Want 2022: Readers in the United States

What Readers Want from Writers in 2022 (6)

Americans are reading more than before, 25% more when compared to the previous year (2020) but the trend is not uniform. Although some US citizens are consuming more books, 23% of Americans haven’t picked up a single book in the past year. In addition, 29% of rural Americans have never read a book.

  • Americans aged between 20 and 34 spend an average of 6.6 minutes reading per day.
  • The popularity of audiobooks is rising, with North American dominating with a market share of over 46% of the global audio market.
  • Printed books are still the preference of 39% of the population, with only 5% opting for audiobooks, so the potential for audiobook growth –in the US and globally–is huge.
  • Romance remains the biggest-selling genre in the USA.

What Readers Want 2022: Readers in Europe

What Readers Want from Writers in 2022 (7)Europeans are the world’s biggest bookworms and spend at least one hour each day reading. Most households in the European Union spend more on books, newspapers and stationery than they do on package holidays.

Digital literacy is rising rapidly in Europe, with at least 56% of Europeans aged between 16-74 having basic digital literacy.

  • Finland, Poland, and Estonia harbor the most significant number of Europes readers, with 16.8% of Finnish citizens claiming reading to be their favorite pastime.
  • Adults inEstonia top a list of countries where people spend the most time reading.
  • France, Romania, Austria, and Belgium have fewer bookworms compared with the rest of the EU.

What Readers Want 2022: Readers in Asia

What Readers Want from Writers in 2022 (8)Readers in India, China, and Thailand are the Asian readers who spend the most time reading. However, although they read most frequently, they are not the most literate, due to limited access to libraries, newspapers, and computers.

  • In China, audiobooks are trending, popular among youth and older generations, with numbers steadily rising. In 2019, 30 % of adults and 34% of minors regularly used audiobooks. China also has the highest percentage of readers of other book formats.
  • Koreans spend lots of money on books! 12% of Koreans have made personal development a new year's resolution and use books as their preferred medium for learning.
  • Asian female authors are producing attracting a lot of attention at the moment and being translated into English

What Readers Want 2022: Readers in Africa

  • What Readers Want from Writers in 2022 (9)

Reading is the fifth most popular leisure activity in Africa, with 7 out of every ten adults claiming that they read for leisure.

Although it’s encouraging to see adult literacy rates increasing year on year, the rise is marginal and literacy levels in sub-Saharan Africa are still well below the global average of 86%.

Forty-two percent of households in South Africa, for example, own one or more books, and 7 % of the South African population own more than ten books, still there are more than 16 million South Africans who don’t own a single book. That equates to almost 58% of the population.

What Readers Want: Global Literacy by Generation

Global literacy for 2021 was 86%, with women having higher illiteracy rates than males. Across the generational spectrum, 61% of readers prefer non-fiction over fiction.

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  • East Asia and the Pacific have the world's highest literacy rate (95.7%) compared to sub-Saharan Africa, which has the lowest rate (65.47%).
  • Overall literacy in first-world nations continues to rise, with countries like Luxembourg, Andorra, and Norway reporting 100% literacy rates.
  • Guinea, Niger, Djoubite, Kiribati, and Niue are the least literate nations.
  • Africa’s literacy rate remains low. One in three African adults cannot read, and a staggering 48 million people aged between 15-24 are illiterate.

What Readers Want from Writers in 2022 (10)

Across the world, young people are more literate than adults, thanks to more schools and early child development programs being made available to the younger generations.

When looking at the reading habits by generation, some noteworthy trends include:

  • Millennials dominate in book reading and mainly use libraries to source reading materials.
  • Gen-X consume their reading maternal, mainly news, online.
  • Gen-Z has made the most significant improvement in reading more and uses social media to hunt for top reads.
  • Boomers and the Silent generation choose reading materials based on bestseller lists

What Readers Want 2022: The Relevance of Libraries

What Readers Want from Writers in 2022 (11)Libraries are the biggest buyers of books globally and libraries are as popular as ever, making them a good discovery vehicle for your book.

ALLi created theYour Book in Libraries to helpself-publishing authors get their books into libraries. ALLi members can download a free copy of the short guide by logging into allianceofindependentauthors.org and navigating to PUBLICATIONS > SHORT GUIDES. If you’re not a member, you can download a copy in our bookshop here.

In the US, both young and old use public libraries, with statistics revealing that more than half of age groups 6-17 utilize libraries to source books.

What Readers Want 2022: Conclusion

Each person who reads a book does so with a purpose: to get something out of it. That something might be information, inspiration or entertainment. The best books deliver all three and as writers, we need to know which of these is central, so we can get our books descriptions and metadata right.

Readers across the world continue to want the inspiration, education and entertainment that only a book can provide. Despite Covid challenges, books have proven their staying power and continue to hold their special place in the minds and hearts of both young and old, across the world.

Global English Editing is an online-only editing and proofreading service that specialises in editing work for students and academics, businesses and professionals and authors of all kinds, and aim to provide a “flexible, efficient and truly international” service. Find out more here.

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What do readers want in 2022? ›

They are:
  • Romance. The genre has one of the most faithful readerships. ...
  • Mystery. This genre churns out bestsellers, series, and standalone books. ...
  • Fantasy and Science Fiction. These two genres seem to be distant but are still closely related. ...
  • Young Adult. ...
  • Pandemic. ...
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) ...
  • Women.

What is everyone reading in 2022? ›

The 100 Must-Read Books of 2022
  • A Heart That Works.
  • Afterlives.
  • All the Lovers in the Night.
  • All This Could Be Different.
  • An Immense World.
  • Ancestor Trouble.
  • Animal Joy.
  • Anna: The Biography.

What are publishers looking for in 2022? ›

Here are 6 key publishing trends and predictions to look out for in 2022.
  • BookTok is a marketing must-have. ...
  • Audiobook sales will keep growing. ...
  • AI will expand its influence. ...
  • Book prices will increase. ...
  • Serialized storytelling will continue to flourish. ...
  • Calls for diversity will persist.

What do readers want to read? ›

Aim for High Readability. People enjoy books with a high level of readability—books with a captivating story and memorable characters, books we can't put down, books that stick with us long after we've read the last word.

What keeps readers interested? ›

Conflict and tension induce drama, which hooks readers and keeps them interested in the story. Conflicts are what make the story move forward while unraveling different aspects of the characters and contributing to their evolution.

What are the trends in content writing 2022? ›

With that in mind let's look at some current trends (and see how many you can tick off).
  • Content trend #1: Rise of the machines.
  • Content trend #2: All hail the return of long-form copy.
  • Content writing trend #3: Email copy is hot in 2022 too.
  • Content writing trend #4: Video copywriting is the way forward.
Jun 20, 2022

What is the most read book in 2022? ›

These are the bestselling books of 2022.
  • Alex Michaelides, The Silent Patient (Celadon) – 572,876 copies sold.
  • Holly Jackson, A Good Girl's Guide to Murder (Ember) – 556,546 copies sold.
  • Colleen Hoover, Maybe Someday (Atria) – 543,658 copies sold.
  • Emily Henry, People We Meet on Vacation (Berkley) – 540,803 copies sold.
Jan 10, 2023

What type of writing sells the most? ›

The bestselling book genre is romance and the most profitable fiction book genre.

What kind of books sell in 2022? ›

Here are some fiction genres that will continue to be popular throughout 2022:
  • Romance. The genre of romance is a popular one, with its readership loyal to the core. ...
  • Children's. ...
  • Thriller: Suspense & Mystery. ...
  • Fantasy and Science Fiction. ...
  • Young Adult. ...
  • Find Your Next Read.

What do publishers expect from authors? ›

Publishers want authors who use words well, who understand such basics as spelling, punctuation and grammar, and whose prose is easy to read. Publishers want authors who will be able to write additional publishable books or stories or features for them.

What are the 3 things a good reader does? ›

Good readers read texts in different ways, looking at the layout and headings, and reading quickly to get a general feel for the text (skimming), before reading more intensively or to find specific details (scanning).

What do readers want from authors? ›

Readers want a plot and characters that keep them engaged. Also mentioned frequently were uninteresting characters and overdone descriptions. Farther down the list, but still worth mentioning were grammar mistakes and spelling errors. For authors, this means plot and characters need to be a primary focus.

What are the 7 things good readers do? ›

To improve students' reading comprehension, teachers should introduce the seven cognitive strategies of effective readers: activating, inferring, monitoring-clarifying, questioning, searching-selecting, summarizing, and visualizing-organizing.

What is the first thing that attracts the reader's attention? ›

Title. The title should grab the attention of the reader and describe in a few words what the article is about. It is the title that piques the interest of the reader in the topic. The title is the first thing that the reader will read before deciding whether or not to read the entire article.

What hooks a reader? ›

A hook is an opening statement (which is usually the first sentence) in an essay that attempts to grab the reader's attention so that they want to read on. It can be done by using a few different types of hooks, which are a question, quote, statistic, or anecdote.

How do you attract more readers? ›

21 Ways To Attract Readers and Viewers To Your Content
  1. Post Content Regularly. Most new readers and viewers find your content through search. ...
  2. Respond to Comments. ...
  3. Create Relevant Content For the Audience. ...
  4. Make the User Experience a Priority. ...
  5. Brand Your Content. ...
  6. Start a Series. ...
  7. Send a Newsletter. ...
  8. Create Monthly Wrap-ups.
May 4, 2023

What is the most trending topic in 2022? ›

Top 10 Trending Topics 2022
  • Prioritize people, not processes. HR must be bold and laser-focused on the employee experience when it comes to talent management. Read more.
  • Tackle Quiet Quitting. Is it real? ...
  • Put a halt on Attrition. Organizations must act now to put a halt on attrition or face even greater challenges ahead.

How do I make my content stand out 2022? ›

Here are a few of their best tips.
  1. Be More Personable. “Be more personable and interactive with your audience. ...
  2. Promote Your Company Culture. ...
  3. Highlight Your Specialty. ...
  4. Showcase What Makes You Unique. ...
  5. Use Humor. ...
  6. Adopt a 'People-First' Attitude. ...
  7. Stay Consistent. ...
  8. Be Proactive.
Mar 13, 2022

Is it worth being a writer in 2022? ›

Writers today have multifaceted opportunities, it's all upto you where u wanna end up! The year and the era do not matter. It depends on how much self-worth a person has, and what one thinks about self in terms of skills, ability, perseverance, and passion.

What book genre is popular now 2022? ›

Romance continues to dominate and is still the most profitable fiction genre worldwide. Crime/ Mystery comes in second place, with religious and Inspirational titles leading the way in most popular non-fiction.

Who is the biggest selling author in 2022? ›

It is something of an understatement to say that Colleen Hoover dominated the 2022 overall bestsellers list. Hoover had the top three books of the year, and her novels sold 14.3 million print copies at outlets that report to NPD BookScan.

What is the #1 book ever sold? ›

According to Guinness World Records as of 1995, the Bible is the best-selling book of all time with an estimated 5 billion copies sold and distributed.

What is the No 1 read book? ›

The Bible. Easily the most read book in the world is the Bible for obvious reasons. It is estimated to have sold over 40 million copies in the last 60 years.

Who are the hot authors in 2022? ›

Clockwise from top left: Bonnie Garmus, Rosie Andrews, Ayanna Lloyd Banwo, Daniel Wiles, Emilie Pine, Lauren John Joseph, Louise Kennedy, Jo Browning Wroe, Moses McKenzie, Sheena Patel.

What is the most regularly read book in the world? ›

The Holy Bible is the most read book in the world. In the past 50 years, the Bible has sold over 3.9 billion copies.

Who is the best selling author right now? ›

Out of currently living authors, Danielle Steel is listed as the best selling fiction author of all time. Her annual income is estimated to exceed $20 million as of 2022. Her titles have sold over 900 million copies around the globe.

What is the biggest selling book of all time? ›

The best-selling book of all time is the Christian Bible.

What books are on the New York Times bestseller list right now? ›

  • Identity by Nora Roberts. ...
  • Happy Place by Emily Henry. ...
  • The Covenant of Water by Abraham Verghese. ...
  • Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus. ...
  • Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros. ...
  • Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver. ...
  • The 23rd Midnight by James Patterson; Maxine Paetro. ...
  • Simply Lies by David Baldacci.
Jun 1, 2023

What book genre is easiest to sell? ›

Romance. Romance books are easily the most profitable genre, with no sign of slowing down.

What is the easiest type of book to write? ›

Unless you're a born novelist, try your hand at non-fiction first. Not only do you get to start from a place of passion and familiarity, but you also have the market on your side. It's easier to write, sell, and promote. Non-fiction has a bigger market for both traditionally published books and self-published books.

What is the easiest type of writing to write? ›

Regardless of whether the story being told is real or fictional, narrative writing can be one of the easiest for the readers and the most difficult for the writers. That is because readers will be prodded by their imagination and understanding in order to get the narrative.

What are publishers looking for in 2023? ›

Click the links below to jump to the publishing trend you want to read first, or scroll to read them all.
  • Artificial Intelligence Gains a Foothold In Writing.
  • AI Art Gains Steam.
  • AI Narrated Audiobooks Proliferate.
  • AI Drives Debate in the Publishing Industry.
  • New Formats and Serial Fiction Heat Up.
Jan 3, 2023

What book publishers are looking for? ›

What works and doesn't work varies by genre, publisher, and other factors outside of the writer's control. Still, there are some basic elements every publisher considers when evaluating a potential project. Those elements are: content, market, competitive titles, and author platform.

How much do publishers pay you for a book? ›

How Are Book Royalties Calculated? Most publishers pay royalties based on the retail price of the book. That means if the book retails at $20, and the royalties rate is 5%, you will earn $1 per book sold. These kinds of royalties are often called “list royalties” or “retail royalties.”

How do I know if I'm a good reader? ›

Some of the most common qualities you will find among an excellent reader are:
  • Reflects on the text. ...
  • Learns as they read. ...
  • Expands their vocabulary. ...
  • Sharpens their brain. ...
  • Gets through complicated writings. ...
  • Reads fast. ...
  • Puts different skills in reading. ...
  • Takes notes.
Mar 21, 2022

What are two characteristics of a good reader? ›

Good Readers
  • Interact with text.
  • Have goals for reading.
  • Evaluate text for important ideas.
  • Note structure of text before reading.
  • Make predictions.
  • Contruct, revise, and question as they read.
  • Monitor their understanding as they read.
  • Read different kinds of text differently.

What are the 5 major abilities of a skilled reader? ›

There are five aspects to the process of reading: phonics, phonemic awareness, vocabulary, reading comprehension and fluency. These five aspects work together to create the reading experience. As children learn to read they must develop skills in all five of these areas in order to become successful readers.

What does the writer do to attract the readers attention? ›

Use pictures to grab attention

Think of simple ways you can break up long blocks of text with images that give the reader a momentary break from your content. The trick is to make the images related to your topic, so while they pause from reading your words, you'll still keep their attention.

How does an author catch a readers attention? ›

A classic hook strategy is to start with an action-packed or climactic event. This method hooks your reader in two ways: first, with the energy of the scene itself. And second, by dropping your reader into the middle of the story without context, you'll leave them with questions that will compel them to keep reading.

How do writers inspire readers? ›

Be real with your readers. Tell personal stories of your own struggles, which makes you relatable. Readers are interested in knowing who you are, your triumphs and challenges, your fears and joys. They want to read about the obstacles you faced in your life and how you overcame them.

What are the 6 key reading skills? ›

Because of the importance of these components, they have become known as the 'Big Six': oral language, phonological awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency and comprehension.

What are the five essential keys to reading success? ›

Effective instructional programs and materials emphasize the five essential components of effective reading instruction: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.

What is the theme of reading Month 2022? ›

spearhead the conduct of the 2022 National Reading Month Celebration in the Region with the theme "Rediscovering the Legacy of Literature through Reading" as part of its strong commitment to Every Child A Reader Program (ECARP), Hamon: Bawat Bata Bumabasa (3Bs Initiative), and Project R8 BULIG.

What genre of books is most popular 2022? ›

The Best of 2022: Top Genres
  • Fiction – 1,140,458 checkouts.
  • Nonfiction – 431,238 checkouts.
  • Graphic Novels, opens a new window – 133,676 checkouts.
  • Science Fiction / Fantasy, opens a new window – 130,483 checkouts.
  • Mystery, opens a new window – 117,399 checkouts.
  • Romance, opens a new window – 72,096 checkouts.
Jan 27, 2023

Is reading becoming more popular 2022? ›

What Readers Want 2022: Readers in the United States. Americans are reading more than before, 25% more when compared to the previous year (2020) but the trend is not uniform. Although some US citizens are consuming more books, 23% of Americans haven't picked up a single book in the past year.

What is the theme for reading month 2023? ›

Khalifa University is joining the Nation in celebrating the Month of Reading, under the theme 'UAE Reads.

What is the importance of reading? ›

Reading is good for you because it improves your focus, memory, empathy, and communication skills. It can reduce stress, improve your mental health, and help you live longer. Reading also allows you to learn new things to help you succeed in your work and relationships.

Why read books in 2022? ›

It'll help you unwind at the end of the day. And you know that — even without a pandemic — life can still be challenging and exhausting. You can easily read two or three things at the same time and decide to ditch a book, leaving it unfinished, at any point. And what's better — no one even has to know.

What genre of book sells the most? ›

When all things are considered, the most popular book genre 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.

What is the most read book in the world? ›

The Bible. Easily the most read book in the world is the Bible for obvious reasons. It is estimated to have sold over 40 million copies in the last 60 years. You can even find it at most hotels.

Who is the most sold author in 2022? ›

It is something of an understatement to say that Colleen Hoover dominated the 2022 overall bestsellers list. Hoover had the top three books of the year, and her novels sold 14.3 million print copies at outlets that report to NPD BookScan.

Which age group reads the most? ›

The highest percentage of readers by age was 88 percent, among the 18-24 age group, followed by 86 percent in the 16-17 range. Readers in the 30-39 group were a close third at 84 percent.

Which age group reads more? ›

People age 65 and older also spent the most time reading for personal interest. On the days they read, people age 65 and older read for an average of 1 hour and 47 minutes. They read 24 minutes longer than people ages 15 to 24.

What gender reads more? ›

Surveys consistently find that women read more books than men, especially fiction. Explanations abound, from the biological differences between the male and female brains, to the way that boys and girls are introduced to reading at a young age.


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