44 Most Popular Types of Books

Book Genres

Readers are generally quite different from one another. While some of us struggle to include as many book genres as possible in our TBR lists, others stick to one or two types of books and tend to only read those. As long as you are reading enough and you are having a good time doing it, there is no correct way of organizing your reading lists according to genres. 

However, here at Basmo, we are committed to keeping you as informed as you can be. That is why we decided to present you with the most complete book genres list so that you can decide for yourself whether you want to explore them all or simply choose some and stick with them until you deplete the genre. 

What are the genres of books?

A book genre is defined as a way to group books based on certain similarities. Books are categorized depending on their topic, the way they were written, the era they were written in, and several other characteristics. 

The importance of book genres is quite obvious considering the incredibly high number of books that exist and are still being released every single year. Without a way of categorizing titles, it would probably be impossible to run a bookstore or find something useful in a public library. 

Another reason why book categories are important is the fact that they give readers a good idea of what to expect whenever they choose a new book to read. You generally know whether you like a certain book only by learning the genre it is a part of. While that may make you miss out on some amazing books simply because they belong to a genre you don’t usually like, it can also help you avoid wasting time trying to read a lot of books that are not your cup of tea.

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What are the different genres of books?

The creativity of writers knows no boundaries. While some choose to be factual and provide readers with accurate information on certain events, others go a completely different route and let their imaginations run wild making up fascinating stories that sometimes have nothing to do with the reality we live in. 

Historically, books have also been inspired or influenced by the eras they were written in. This led to a great variety in terms of genres and writing styles and many different factors played a role in the way we enjoy certain books today.  

How many genres of books are out there?

While the exact number of all book genres is somewhat debatable and depends to a certain extent on who you ask, the most accurate estimate is that there are roughly 50 book genres out there. That may seem like a whopping number of genres and it really is, but the important thing to remember is that many of these are quite narrowly niched. 

If we also take subgenres into account, you will be surprised to find out that some of the most complete libraries have their titles categorized in as many as 16,000 different types of books.

List of book genres (the most popular 39 ones)

As I mentioned, there are literally thousands of genres and subgenres, most of which target very narrow niches. There are however 39 popular genres you should know about. 

Here at Basmo, we believe in trying everything at least once, so here are all the book categories we think you should look into until you find out exactly what floats your boat. 

  1. Art
  2. Biography
  3. Business
  4. Chick Lit
  5. Children’s
  6. Christian
  7. Classics
  8. Comics
  9. Contemporary
  10. Cookbooks
  11. Crime
  12. DIY/Crafts
  13. Erotica
  14. Fantasy
  15. LGBTQ+
  16. Gardening
  17. Graphic Novels
  18. Historical Fiction
  19. History
  20. Horror
  21. Humor and Comedy
  22. Manga
  23. Medical
  24. Memoir
  25. Music
  26. Mystery
  27. Paranormal
  28. Parenting
  29. Philosophy
  30. Poetry
  31. Psychology
  32. Philosophy
  33. Photography
  34. Religion
  35. Romance
  36. Science
  37. Science Fiction
  38. Self Help
  39. Suspense
  40. Spirituality
  41. Sports
  42. Thriller
  43. Travel
  44. Young Adult

As you can see, there is quite a lot to choose from and each book category above contains at least a couple of titles you should definitely give a try to. Exploring all the different book genres and finding out exactly what you like is going to take some time. Luckily though, we are here to help. And to do that, we need to separate these genres into the most important two categories: fiction and non-fiction.

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What are the non-fiction book genres?

Non-fiction literature is based on facts rather than the author’s imagination. They represent a book category that comes in many shapes and forms. Non-fiction genres target many areas, from history to science and self-help. 

While the variety of non-fiction book types is a lot greater, here are the most relevant non-fiction genres you should definitely know about.


Whether we’re talking about books that describe or critique different forms of art or books that teach artists how to master their crafts, they all fall under this amazing non-fiction category. You can use these books to learn about art currents, how different artists became successful, admire their artwork and understand the thought process behind it, or even learn a couple of tricks yourself. 


Historical non-fiction played a hugely important role in the way our society developed. All throughout history, various writers have jotted down important events, along with their own perspectives on things. For the longest time, history books were our only testament to the events of the past. The data is factual, verifiable, and accurate. 


More often than not, the most successful writers are the ones with the most fascinating life stories. Some of them have written about their own lives and what influenced them in their writing. These are very insightful things to read, and even though they are quite similar to autobiographies, they are different in the fact that they can describe only a certain period of an artist’s life. 

Biographies or autobiographies

This non-fiction genre contains books that tell the whole life story of an artist or public person. While an autobiography refers to the life events of the author writing it, biographies are written about other people’s lives. They can be quite a fascinating read and their main appeal is that they are factual and accurate.


Both travel guides and travelogues fall under this category. While the former represents a genre that can be read to learn about certain destinations, the latter tells the story of the author’s experiences while traveling to different parts of the world. 


Being one of the oldest book genres out there, philosophy books were written to explore the most complicated and debated topics in our history. Whether it’s ethics, understanding humanity, or finding the ultimate purpose of life itself, these books have played a huge role in the way we perceive life today. Philosophy books changed the world more than once and even though many of them were written centuries ago, they are still valid to this day, proving that humankind is on a never-ending quest to find all the answers.


Our fascination for religion and spirituality is as old as life itself. With an estimated 10,000 religions worldwide, it’s quite easy to understand why this book genre is quite popular. Whether it’s books about the history of certain religions, criticism, or books describing in great detail certain views on religion or spirituality, this non-fiction genre can certainly change the way you see life. 


This non-fiction genre is as broad as the topic itself. Science is fascinating and extremely important for the way we advance as a species, and so are the books within this non-fiction genre.


Whether it’s economics, management, or insightful descriptions or theories of how a business should run in order to be successful, the business genre is filled with books that can turn your life around from a financial perspective. 


From the way our body works, medical technology, healthcare in general, or patient care, this genre contains a huge variety of books and topics. It is a fascinating genre that has been around for centuries, and one we definitely have a lot to learn from. 


Another very broad non-fiction genre with a significantly wide range of topics and purposes, psychology covers everything related to our mental health, the way our thinking makes us different from one another, and how we can improve our performances based on how the brain works. 


Our constant desire to become better, more efficient, and more at peace with ourselves and our flaws has made the self-help genre a very popular one, especially in recent years. From learning to overcome certain conditions to become more efficient and productive, all kinds of topics are covered within this genre.


Food doesn’t only keep us alive, it can be a treat and a way for many to enjoy life to the fullest. Whether it’s simple cookbooks where you can find the recipes for popular dishes, stories of culinary experiences, or nutrition books that teach us what our body actually needs in terms of nourishment, the cooking genre is an essential one. 

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What are the fiction book genres?

As you would expect, equally consistent is the fiction category. Writers’ imagination knows no limits and even though the main list of genres below is significantly shorter than the one from non-fiction, the thing you need to remember is that there are a lot more subgenres. 

Too many to include in a list actually, but for the sake of providing you with a good idea of what you can find in the fiction world, here are the most popular fiction genres.


Including important subgenres like contemporary or historical romance, paranormal romance, or erotica, this genre includes all the books revolving around falling in love, sex, and exploring romantic emotions. 


Defined as a genre that revolves around single or multiple characters that live through crucial experiences, drama is usually based on painful, sad, or even tragic fictitious events. This genre also includes a wide range of subcategories: heroic or domestic drama, comedy, tragedy, or melodrama being some of the most popular ones.

Science fiction

The richest fiction genre in terms of subcategories, science fiction generally refers to books where an alternative reality is presented. Whether that means getting a perspective of how the author is imagining our future or simply completely out-of-this-world events, science fiction is one of the most popular and fascinating genres out there. 


Generally involving magic and action taking place in a completely fictional world, fantasy books are some of the best-selling novels out there. They present a completely different version of our world than the actual reality and usually include amazing adventures that will keep you on the edge of your seat. 


As the name suggests, this genre is one where the focus is on a series of events or adventures that provide you with a constant dose of adrenaline. Fast-paced, easy to read, and always interesting, action or adventure books are hard to put down. 


Revolving around figuring out how and why certain fictitious events occurred, mystery books are notorious for keeping readers up at night. The genre includes a wide range of subcategories like detective books, thrillers, cozy mysteries, and police procedurals to name a few.  


Whether it’s gore splatter horror, monster horror, paranormal, or psychological horror, the one thing all the books in this genre have in common is that they will give you shivers down your spine. Exploring the darkest places of the authors’ imaginations and presenting fictitious events that are generally hard to imagine ever taking place in real life, horror books have been notoriously popular for centuries, particularly because of the adrenaline rush they provide the readers with. 

What are the best selling book genres?

The best-selling book genres are generally the ones that exploit the human condition, psychology, and emotions. Romance novels, self-help, mystery, horror, and fantasy are the genres that usually generate the most sales.

They are easy to read, provide a wholesome experience for the reader, and stimulate the imagination and emotional range of those who read them. 

How to read more book genres with Basmo

If you’re serious about giving as many genres as possible a shot, the best thing for you to do is to start using a reading tracking app like Basmo. Limiting yourself to just a couple of book types means you are missing out on quite a lot of possibly eye-opening reading. 

Using Basmo opens up a world of interesting features that will make you a better, more accomplished reader. In order to start experimenting with books that you wouldn’t normally consider interesting, Basmo is a great solution to try because:

With Basmo you can create a reading schedule 

If you really want to read more and include more variety in your reading habits, having a clear reading schedule is essential. 

With Basmo you can easily choose the days of the week you want to read in, and even separate times of day for each session. That way you can select certain days of the week dedicated to simply exploring new genres.

Basmo encourages you to create reading lists 

Not only does the app come with predefined templates for your TBR list, you can also create new ones and personalize them however you see fit. If you want to give more genres a chance, you can simply create separate reading lists for each one you are interested in.

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Final thoughts

Now that you have our complete list of book genres, it’s time to start exploring! Use Basmo to improve your reading habits and to enjoy a more varied range of topics and book genres.

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