Genre Basics: Religious, Inspirational & Spiritual - article

The religious, inspirational and spiritual book genre encompasses a diverse collection of material. It includes both fiction and nonfiction books covering a wide range of religions, from Christianity to Buddhism to Wiccan. Books may be associated with one specific religion, or may be more general, focused on an inspirational theme with underlying religious lessons or ethics. This genre also includes books that cover both conventional and unconventional topics meant to encourage spiritual growth.

The market for the religious, inspirational and spiritual genre is strong and has outperformed market growth as a whole in the past few years. According to Nielsen book survey data, in 2014, U.S. book sales of religious titles increased 10.5 percent from the previous year, compared to 2.4 percent increase of the overall book market.

One book in particular in this genre that continues to be a bestseller year after year is the Bible. According to Nielsen reports, in 2013, religious books accounted for 14 percent of new books purchased—67 percent were Bibles, and 22 percent were religious nonfiction. While adult nonfiction leads the sales in the religious genre, one trend to watch is the recent jump in Children’s religion book sales, which increased 22 percent from 2013 to 2016.

So, who's buying these books? It depends on the subgenre. According to a 2015 Neilson report, Christian fiction buyers are typically female (72 percent) and 51 percent are over 45 years old. The demographics for Christian nonfiction buyers are more balanced between men and women, at 59 percent female and 51 percent over 45.

In the inspirational and spiritual categories, books that offer learning techniques for improving physical health, emotional well-being, and personal relationships continue to be popular. Readers also enjoy discovering concepts and practices from all over the world.

Whether your book idea is a calling or a passion, you can break into the religious, inspirational and spiritual book market by staying true to your purpose, understanding your target market, and following current trends.

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