Which genres do Americans who read physical books tend to buy?
November 28th, 2022, Kineree Shah

Which genres do Americans who read physical books tend to buy?

Do Americans read physical books anymore? According to data from YouGov Profiles a quarter of them read physical paperback books while nearly the same (23%) read physical hardback books. But what kind of genres do they tend to purchase?

Two in five Americans who read physical hardback or physical paperback books tend to buy mystery and crime genre books. A third say science fiction (32%), while more than a quarter tend to purchase historical fiction and fantasy (27% each). The least popular fictional genres were Spanish language novels (2%), chick lit (5%), and erotic fiction (6%).

When we look at the data by age, we see a lot of variation. 18-29-year-old Americans who read physical hardbacks or physical paperback books are more likely than other Americans to purchase fantasy books (37%), graphic novels or comic strips (35%), literary fiction (23%) and young adult (23%) genres. Adults aged 30 and up are more likely than younger consumers (47-38%) to purchase mystery and crime. A third of senior citizens aged 65 and up are likely to buy historical fiction (33%), the highest proportion among all age groups. Espionage and spy thrillers are only half as popular among our youngest group as they are among our oldest (9% vs. 20%), perhaps as the Cold War which fueled the works of many of the genre’s authors becomes more of a distant memory.

In terms of gender, American males are more likely than females to purchase science fiction (43% males vs 23% females), graphic novels (20% males vs 9% females), and spy thrillers (20% males vs 11% females). Almost half of all American women who read physical paperback or hardcover books (47%), tend to purchase mystery and crime.

Before we go, let's look at the attitude of American consumers who read physical hardback or paperback books. They are more likely than all adults to be selective about which events they attend (86% vs 79%). In comparison to 71% of the general population, 77% of physical book readers aspire to be fit and healthy. Physical book readers are also more likely to purchase physical copies of music (53% vs 47%) and say museums and galleries are enjoyable (90% vs 80%) than the general population.

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YouGov Profiles is based on continuously collected data and rolling surveys, rather than from a single limited questionnaire. Profiles data for the US market is nationally representative of the online population and weighted by age, gender, education, region, and race. Learn more about Profiles.