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For the longest time, crime and thrillers were trailing behind genres like romance and general fiction. Yet, for some reason, things have drastically changed as of very recently.
At least in the UK, 2017 has seen a sharp rise in the sale of books by crime and thriller authors based on the latest findings by Nielsen BookScan, seeing an increase of no less than 19% since 2015, when other general fiction was still king of the industry.
The following article in The Irish News goes more deeply into the numbers behind this strange new trend of the sudden shift in the genre popularity:
Crime most popular fiction genre in UK, data shows
Last year some 18.7 million units of crime fiction were sold, compared to 18.1 million general and literary fiction, according to data from Nielsen BookScan.
The value of crime books sold also increased by 10.6% year-on-year in 2017, up from £106.3million to £117.6million. In value terms, general and literary fiction remained the largest genre at £125.7million in 2017.
Nielsen BookScan’s The Total Consumer Market (TCM) data covers more than 90% of all retail book purchases in the UK and represents sales through 6,500 retailers in the UK each week. See full blog post here…
In the next article by Anita Singh at The Telegraph, she talks about different views by authors regarding this interesting new phenomenon. Apparently, not everyone agrees with the reasons for this shift.
Crime pays: thrillers and detective novels now outsell all other fiction
Jacks Thomas, London Book Fair director, said: “Television adaptations bring in new audiences. If you turn on your TV, there are so many crime dramas and thrillers, and lots of them are based on books.
“Netflix is a great enabler, and these days there are whole channels dedicated to crime – you can pretty much watch Poirot on a loop.”
Others had different theories on why crime novels are having a moment. See more here…
Not only that but even the popular thriller author David Baldacci has his own ideas about what really is going on:
When times are stressful and it looks like the bad is winning out over the good, along comes the genre of crime novels to put the balance back in life.
People inherently don’t like folks who do bad to get away with it. In real life they do, all the time, because of a variety of factors.
But in novels, evil is punished, and the good guys mostly win, after solving the puzzle. And all is right with the world. At least fictionally.
I tend to agree with Baldacci’s view. He knows and feels the pulse of the current political situation. His thriller novels amply show that. And let’s face it, today’s times are as turbulent as they haven’t been in a very, very long time.
Also, today there are more crime and thriller TV shows and movies than ever before. People love to voice their opinions on what is going on in the current political climate. And as for crime, who doesn’t like solving one?
Take, for instance, Agatha Christie. Did you know that Agatha Christie was, once again, extremely popular in 2017 not only in Europe but also in the US? New movies come out all the time, the latest being Murder on the Orient Express and Crooked House. Her books are selling like hot cakes all around the world.
Agatha Christie is the gold standard that everyone who wants to write crime mysteries is studying her.
Based on a recent article on USA Today written by Jocelyn McClurg, the evidence is there for everyone to see. In a nutshell, murder sells.
Why does the creator of celebrated sleuths Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple — who has sold more than 2 billion books worldwide, outranked only by the Bible and Shakespeare — still knock ’em dead nearly a century after she published her first book?
Let’s examine the evidence.
She wrote murder, folks Read more at …
So there you have it. Murder pays, and given enough exposure from multiple media sources, it pays very well.
And the political climate all around the world is turbulent enough that even the careless people are taking notice, especially when books by thriller authors reflect these times within their pages. And maybe, just maybe, enough readers will stand vote for a better world tomorrow.