With COVID-19 shutdowns forcing many people to spend many uninterrupted months inside their homes without socializing or travel, books have served a renewed purpose as an escape hatch from the world’s macabre reality—and a reflection of it. By March of 2020, as precautions were just beginning to be set in place in the U.S., a full 33% of American adults reported they were reading more due to the coronavirus outbreak. In the United Kingdom, a survey released in May found that regular readers had doubled the amount of time devoted to reading each day.
Where contemporary fiction, business and leadership, and fitness titles once dominated bestseller lists, this year we saw bestselling books in subject matters related to romance, thrillers, and race relations. The Washington Post reported that romantic comedy book sales alone have increased by a stunning 188% over the past year.
With 2021 fast approaching, Stacker took a look back at the top trends and moments of 2020, including what Americans have been reading. To compile a list of the 40 bestselling books of 2020, we analyzed Barnes & Noble’s New York Times Bestsellers page. The following story includes the top eight books in five categories (hardcover fiction; hardcover nonfiction; paperback fiction; paperback nonfiction; and advice, how-to, and miscellaneous) as of Dec. 2.
If you missed out on any of these titles this year, they’re sure to make excellent additions to your 2021 reading list (or last-minute holiday gifts!).
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