2014 was a good year for publishers of classic children’s books and YA series. Of Amazon’s list of the best selling books of 2014, just 18 books intended for adult readers cracked the top 40. Of those that did, the bulk were SAT/ACT/college prep books and classics like To Kill A Mockingbird, The Great Gatsby, and The Alchemist. Meanwhile a children’s reader inspired by the blockbuster film Frozen, John Green’s tender tearjerker The Fault in Our Stars, and installments of Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Veronica Roth’s Divergent series were among the titles Amazon customers couldn’t get enough of.
A months long standoff between Amazon and publisher Hachette that resulted in delayed delivery and unavailability did not seem to affect demand for print titles of Hachette’s Wimpy Kid, The Heroes of Olympus, To Kill A Mockingbird, Gone Girl, or Pulitzer winner The Goldfinch, which were among the e-tailer’s top 20 best sellers of the year. Proving recent findings that young people prefer print books to digital versions, 75% of Amazon’s list of Kindle best sellers featured books for adult audiences.
Interestingly, only three titles that made the books list’s top 20 were published in 2014: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul; The Heroes of Olympus Book Five; and Killing Patton which was co-written by Fox News personality Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard. On the Kindle list, six of the top 20 were released this year, which may point to adult readers’ desire not to add more books to their print collections, or bolster the theory that the e-book is the new paperback, with readers preferring to invest less in certain genres e.g. romance and detective dramas.
Goodreads, which Amazon now owns, has posted a list of the most popular books published in 2014. Cassandra Clare’s City of Heavenly Fire sits at the top, though it is #99 on Amazon’s books breakdown and #50 on the Kindle list.