Reading through fear, reading to escape and reading about helping; the three key trends to emerge in reading during lockdown
Brand new research conducted during lockdown has revealed trends in the UK’s reading habits. The research, conducted by Kate Nash Literary Agency, has also revealed a radical shift in the semiotics of popular book covers.
“Readers are turning to feel-good and escapist books as well as books about pandemics, politics and apocalypse but readers also talked a lot about stories about supporting and helping others: men asking for help, women supporting women and stories about kindness and family,” said Kate Nash.
“In stark contrast to our 2019 survey which identified the trend for dark and menacing book covers, readers now perceive book covers are becoming brighter and identify books representative of the now with very different semiotics: blue, white, clear, cosy, no threat.”
The research also revealed:
- Reading now reflects diverse genre trends more typically seen at Christmas including increased non-fiction and children’s.
- Lockdown is amplifying some existing trends we identified in 2019: friendship, love stories, strong women, mental health, isolation, politics, apocalypse
- Reading now falls into three key thematic areas: reading through fear, reading as escapism and reading about helping
- Emerging trends include tie-ins of many types inc. TV and holocaust stories, folklore and magic, seaside and holiday settings, stories from diverse backgrounds and stories with strong female characters
Kate Nash Literary Agency research comprised qualitative online fieldwork in April 2020 of UK book readers, including repeats of questions asked in September 2019 as well as desk research of the Kindle Top 100 UK bestsellers for April 2020 coding by genre, title key words and subject.