News for Authors

Summer Reads: Six Sales Trends This Season

by Phil Stamper-Halpin|June, 2021

As many parts of the world begin to open up again, another reading-filled summer is about to unfold. Keep reading to find out what’s driving this summer’s reading trends, from “BookTok” favorites to the art of canning and preserving.


Escapist Fiction

The quintessential beach read is a good piece of escapist fiction. Contemporary romance titles such as People We Meet on Vacation and Beach Read by Emily Henry have seen strong sales, and as we head into Father’s Day, we’re seeing a boost with books such as John Grisham’s Sooley. Backlist titles such as Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine and Little Fires Everywhere continue to fly off the shelves this summer.


“BookTok” Recommendations

TikTok has become a new player in the book recommendation world. While still relatively new compared to Twitter and Facebook, this social media platform is driving a ton of book sales and shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. From young adult titles like We Were Liars by E. Lockhart and A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson to adult powerhouses such as A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara and Burn After Writing by Sharon Jones, TikTok has helped books sell voluminously.


Celebrity and Morning TV Book Clubs

A mainstay over the last few years, major book clubs such as Reese’s Book Club, Good Morning America’s GMA Book Club, and Read with Jenna have initiated excellent sales for many of our titles. Their picks can drive some of the buzziest summer reads, and in the last few years they’ve expanded to highlight titles across multiple genres and age categories.


Self-help During a Pandemic

This summer’s trends are not all light, but they do highlight the power that books can have amid challenging times. Strong sales for books dealing with topics such as addiction and marriage counseling reflect a growing desire for readers to reexamine their relationship with themselves and with others. Some key books in this space include This Naked Mind by Annie Grace, Rewire by Richard O’Connor, and The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John Gottman, PhD, and Nan Silver.


Summer Reading for Kids

With a cautious hope of summer vacations amid a “new normal” returning, summer reading for kids is on the rise. Activity books, workbooks, and camping or beach books have risen to the top. Some key titles in this arena include Hello, World! Ocean Life by Jill McDonald, Mad Libs on the Road by Roger Price and Leonard Stern, and Wreck This Journal: Now in Color by Keri Smith.


Summer Cooking (And Canning!)

A new season traditionally brings a new collection of cookbooks—and cookbook trends—to the market. This year, books on barbecuing and grilling, such as Franklin Barbecue by Aaron Franklin and Jordan Mackay, are doing well, along with more niche cookbooks with themes from canning and preserving (The Farmhouse Culture Guide to Fermenting by Kathryn Lukas and Shane Peterson) to ice cream (The Perfect Scoop, Revised and Updated by David Lebovitz).


Whatever your plans for the summer, there’s a good chance that you and your loved ones will be bringing along a book or e-reader. While readers enjoy their favorite summer reads, your publishing team works tirelessly to get your books—frontlist or backlist—into the hands of readers everywhere.



Phil Stamper-Halpin is Associate Director, Author Development for Penguin Random House.