CHICAGO, June 6, 2023 — Sales of LGBTQ fiction in the U.S. reached an all-time high in the 12 months ending May 2023, according to Circana, formerly IRI and The NPD Group, selling 6.1 million units. This growth represents an 11% increase over the previous 12-month period and a 173% surge compared to the pre-pandemic benchmark of 2019 (12 months ending May 2019). Authors with the highest sales increase in the LGBTQ subject include Mo Xiang Tong Xui, Alice Oseman, Rick Riordan, Alexis Hall, and CJ Piper.
“It is important to note that the growth in LGBTQ fiction has outpaced the overall market for fiction sales, including adult, kids’, and young adult fiction combined, which remained relatively flat,” said Kristen McLean, books industry analyst at Circana. “This growth comes at a critical time when reports of book bans have surged, predominantly targeting books written by or about the LGBTQ community and people of color.”
The growth of LGBTQ fiction sales spans various genres, including fantasy, thrillers, science fiction, horror, and social situations. However, the category that has experienced the most significant gains is adult romance. Sales of LGBTQ romance novels reached 1 million units in the 12 months ending May 2023, exhibiting a remarkable 40% increase over the corresponding period last year. Notably, romance contributes to 30% of the overall growth witnessed in LGBTQ subjects. The next largest area of growth was general adult fiction, which rose 17%, year over year, to reach 1 million units.
“Publishers are ensuring that the transformative power of storytelling reaches a growing number of readers, regardless of their background or identity,” McLean said. “Skyrocketing sales of LGBTQ fiction not only signify a growing demand but also indicate a shift in societal attitudes toward embracing diverse narratives.”