Top 10 Fantasy Book Trends of 2010

I’ve been tracking the top 5 books in the fantasy category on Amazon’s bestseller list for a while now, and I figured I could pull some interesting data from the weekly posts.

This is the second in a series of Top 10 posts covering the fantasy industry. Last week, we covered the Top 10 Fantasy Books of 2010. Next week, we cover the Top 10 Fantasy Books for 2011.

Kindle vs. Hardcover

I’ve only been tracking formats since September, but this is still 33% of the year’s worth of data. Starting on September 5, 2010, and reviewing the data weekly, 48 times Kindle editions of books were in the top 5, and only 37 times hardcover editions of books made the top 5. One interesting note here: Kindle sales were stronger in September and October, then as Thanksgiving rolled around, hardcover sales surged. But, once we got to the final week of the year, the day after Christmas marked the first week where all five novels in the top 5 list were Kindle editions. An inkling of what’s to come in the new year?

Epic Fantasy vs. Urban Fantasy

In the epic vs. urban smack-down urban fantasy wins, hands down. Urban fantasy novels appeared in the top 5 a whopping 198 times, to only 43 for epic fantasy. Epic fantasy was helped tremendously by the Jordan/Sanderson novels, but it just wasn’t enough to come close. Even though we see a traditional spike of epic fantasy sales around Christmas every year, urban fantasy is riding strong from 2010 into 2011.

Most Weeks at #1

Towers of Midnight spent the most weeks in the #1 spot, with 16. Second was Dead in the Family, with 11 weeks. Tied for third were Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer, and Dead Witch Walking, by Kim Harrison. Rounding out the top 5 novels in #1 for the most weeks was Bite Me, with two weeks in first place. The following novels all grabbed first place for one week only: A Game of Thrones, No Mercy, The Legend of Sigurd & Godrum, Calling Home, Changes, Once Bitten, Wit’ch Fire and Eclipse.

Longest Streak at #1

Towers of Midnight spent 14 weeks at #1, from September 5 through December 19, showing that even with the influx of urban and vampire fantasy, traditional epic fantasy still holds a place in fans’ hearts. Second was Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris with 7 weeks at #1, and third was Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison with 6 weeks at #1.

Longest Streak in Top 5 (any position)

Amazingly, both Dead in the Family and Breaking Dawn tied, for spending 33 consecutive weeks in the top 5 each. In second place for this category is Towers of Midnight, which spent 19 consecutive weeks in the top 5 list.

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Categories: Top 10, Trends | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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7 thoughts on “Top 10 Fantasy Book Trends of 2010

  1. Pingback: Top 10 Fantasy Books of 2010 | Fantasy Book News

  2. That’s one impressive list! I’m a little saddened epic fantasy lost out to urban fantasy, as well as the popularity streak of paranormal romances, though it’s good to see ToM doing so well.

  3. Agreed Jamie, I’m in the same boat. It will be interesting to see how urban fantasy fairs in 2011, and how Kindle sales do in 2011 as well.

  4. Pingback: Top 10 Fantasy Books for 2011 | Fantasy Book News

  5. Ian Oliver

    Epic fantasy will have higher sales this year because a lot of the good stuff will be released this year, A dance with dragons will be one of them. 😀

  6. Does Urban Fantasy novels mean vampire novels? If so it is no surprise that urban beat epic so bad. True Blood and Twilight is too popular right now. Hopefully A Game of Thrones can tilt the scale in our favor. Go Martin!

    • Yes, Urban Fantasy includes novels by writers like Charlaine Harris, Kim Harrison and Jim Butcher. Martin’s been rocking the top 5 so far in 2011.

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