Book Riot has a great write-up on the recent release of Forbes magazine’s top-earning authors of the year.

authorsJill Guccini begins by asking us to put aside for a moment any idealized notions we may have about what people “should be” reading. This list, with E.L. James, James Patterson, Suzanne Collins, Bill O’Reilly and Danielle Steel heading off the top five, represents what they actuallyare reading, and there is value in knowing that.

There is also some reassurance in considering the demographics. There is roughly an even split of male and female authors, and some young adult ones thrown in too.

Guccini concludes:

“So when I look at this list, I don’t see the death of culture as we know it. I think, ‘Huh. So we are all reading — ladies, men, adults, kids. We are just all folks.’ Because when you hear enough times that kid books aren’t as good as grown up books, or that men just don’t want to read books written by women, or that women never win as many literary awards as men, and on and on and on, this list actually feels like a smack of reality.”

And I have to say, I agree with her. Sure, E.L. James may not go down in history as the best author ever in the world, but she does target a certain demographic, and she’s getting that demographic to buy and read a book. That’s worth something, isn’t it?

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"I’m a journalist, a teacher and an e-book fiend. I work as a French teacher at a K-3 private school. I use drama, music, puppets, props and all manner of tech in my job, and I love it. I enjoy moving between all the classes and having a relationship with each child in the school. Kids are hilarious, and I enjoy watching them grow and learn. My current device of choice for reading is my Amazon Kindle Touch, but I have owned or used devices by Sony, Kobo, Aluratek and others. I also read on my tablet devices using the Kindle app, and I enjoy synching between them, so that I’m always up to date no matter where I am or what I have with me."


  1. Out of the top 16 authors, none make it to my want to read queue. I used to read Stephen King regularly twenty years ago, but that was then. I also read a few of the others but I’m not likely to go back for more. I guess I’m not a bestseller reader.

    I also find it a little sad that adults are turning to YA books. When I was a young I eschewed books for my age group and read Lovecraft and science fiction.

  2. $95 million for an indie book – wow! Although it’s certainly not anything I would ever read.

    I’ve read 7 of those 16 authors, none recently. I haven’t read Danielle Steele in at least 20 years, her books became increasingly depressing and repetitive.

    As much as the “cultural elite” want to ignore it, the fact is that most people read for pleasure and escapism when they have a choice. Who wants to read those boring books we were forced to read in school, i.e. literature, when we’ve escaped and can read anything we want to? About the only required reading I enjoyed in high school was Shakespeare but I sure don’t sit around reading it now and have no interest in reading the modern day equivalent of Hemingway and the like. Life is too short.

    I personally read mostly fiction with some non-fiction history books thrown in for balance.

    I do take exception to some of her comments. Does gender or race really matter when it comes to reading? It sure doesn’t for me, most of the fiction I read is written by both men and women, most of the non-fiction is written by men. I care about the story, not the author. As for Bill O’Reilly, maybe his position on the list shows how out of touch politicians and the so-called cultural elite are with the general US population.

    I do agree that it’s a sad thing that so many adults are reading YA books now, talk about a dumbing down of society. Is it because they’re attracted to the coming of age type of story and drama or because the text is written as a simpler, easy to read level? Years ago, I broke down and read the first Twilight book because my daughter asked me to. I got through it, despite hating the main whiny, depressing character. But I could only take a couple of chapters of the second book, the teenaged drama and unbelievable plot points made me roll my eyes. On the other hand, the Harry Potter books were not dumbed down for children so were much easier to read as an adult. Most political speeches have digresses into a middle school level, maybe that reflects poorly on our public school system and society in general.