The world of politics has seemed especially pervasive over the past few years, and it’s not hard to see why. US President Donald Trump sparks one controversy after another, the UK and Europe are battling it out over Brexit, North Korea remains an ever growing threat, and Russian trolls seem to be everywhere. It’s no wonder that sales of political books have almost doubled in the past two years as readers try and make sense of it all.
As The Guardian reports, data revealed at the London book fair conference on Monday that the politics genre of books was the fastest-growing genre category ion non-fiction, with an increase in 170 percent since 2018. Many of the best-selling titles were about Donald Trump, including Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury and Bob Woodward’s Fear. Readers were also picking up copies of Notes on Nationalism by George Orwell, which sold over 20,000 copies last year. Karl Marx’s The Communist Manifesto is also in high demand, selling nearly 16,000 copies.
Books encouraging diversity have also been doing well. Children’s books that promote diversity, such as Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls, have increased sales of that category by 30 percent. “One of the main contributors to this growth includes feminist and inspiring stories for children; books aimed at helping children boost confidence such as You Are Awesome by Matthew Syed; poetry and narrative information books,” said the book sales monitor.
Jacks Thomas, director of the London Book Fair said the growth “highlights the vital role books play as a destination for deeper understanding of the world today”, meanwhile Waterstones politics buyer Clement Knox stated: “Political issues have become more urgent … the stratospheric rise in politics titles is simply a natural response to what is going on in the wider world.”
The UK’s largest bookshop chain, Waterstones, reported that sales in the political genre began to spike in the run up to the Brexit vote. Thousands of books were sold on the topic and the 2016 presidential election only increased the demand for political books. In late 2018, Waterstones stated that it had sold more political books that year than either 2015 or 2016.
“Readers are certainly interested in insider accounts of political intrigue – see the hit success of Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury or Bob Woodward’s Fear – but what is remarkable in recent years is the focus on political theory and governance,” said Knox, pointing out to titles such as How Democracies Die, How to Lose a Country, National Populism, The Road to Somewhere and How Democracy Ends. “This unlikely resurgence in interest in political theory is probably the most noteworthy feature of the boom in politics sales.”