World Book Day: What Are The Most Popular Genres Around The World?

World Book Day is an annual celebration of the joys of books and reading and to encourage reading enjoyment. To celebrate, Studying in Switzerland carried out an analysis of google search volumes for different genres across different countries to see what people are reading around the world.


What Are People Reading Around the World?

A typical person reads 12 to 13 novels each year, and how people choose what to read has long piqued the curiosity of researchers. As a result, book publishing has a huge market size worldwide, with revenue reaching $112.5 billion in 2022.

But which book genres are the most popular and what do people read around the world? The answer depends and differs from country to country.


Romance Capturing The Heart Of Most Nations

According to the data, romance books came out top in popularity for readers worldwide, outselling fantasies, classics, poetry, adventure books and all other genres. This is true in France, Hungary, South Africa, Spain, Brazil, Portugal, Romania and Greece. In Venezuela, romance and horror books came out as equally popular!

Romance fiction is a billion-dollar genre, with unit sales topping 47 million last year, representing an increase of 24% from the previous year, according to NPD.


A Penchant For The Classics In English Speaking Countries

While all countries value their own classics, our data reveals that English speaking countries seem to really show a perfect storm of reverence and passion for their cultural heritage. This is particularly highlighted in England where a large number of writers  are now regarded as classics. So English readers are more likely to read from their own country.

This is also true across Hong Kong, Australia, UK, Ireland the US and New Zealand. In the US specifically, the most popular genre is Classics, closely followed by Romance and Poetry – true across all states.


Europeans Love A Fantasy

It is perhaps unsurprising that Europeans’ favourite genre is fantasy as, historically, most fantasy stories have focused solely on European-inspired locations. They take place in imaginary worlds full of adventure making them popular and wide appealed to readers of all ages. If you look closely at the most famous books and series of all time, you will see that fantasy genre dominates the list. A few examples are The Hobbit, the Harry Potter series, and the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and they are all set in Europe.

This trend was found to be true in Czech Republic, Germany, Poland, Italy, Denmark, Switzerland and Austria.


Asians Show Preference for Poetry

With some of the world’s oldest languages, lively storytelling traditions, and a diverse melting pot of cultures, Asia is a bookworm’s dream. From India to Singapore, Turkey, The Philippines and off into the diaspora, the canon of Asian literature is both extensive and diverse.

When it comes to poetry, Asian countries have a very long tradition and are certainly obsessed with their poets. Our data reveal that the most popular book genre in Asian countries are poetry books. One can only suppose that it’s partially owing to a sense of national pride having given birth to such outstanding and world-renowned poets as Lu You, Li Bai, Wang Wei and others.