Something I’m noticing currently is a trend in survivalist or apocalyptic fiction. These are books either about the end of the world or a dystopian, bleak near future. The audience tends to be 35- to 55-year-old men.
When reading reviewer comments online at various websites, I can’t help noticing not only the high rankings of these mainly self-published titles, but also how these comments suggest readers can’t get enough of these types of books. Many commenters ask what else they can read in the genre. On Twitter and Facebook, I’ve seen back-and-forth dialogue of readers suggesting titles to each other. Apocalyptic fiction is the erotica for the middle-aged man.
I recently acquired a few of these apocalyptic books, to much success. The first acquisitions I made were Going Home and Surviving Home by A American, two books about an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) that goes off, causing anything electronic to not function. The second acquisition was another multibook deal for the books The End and The Long Road Home by Geoff Hopf.
Much of the genre’s success has been online with e-books. However, these aren’t all inexpensive $1.99 e-books; most are higher priced. What I see emerging is a wide-open market where this genre has not been: physical books. Major retailers like B&N, BAM, Tattered Cover and Joseph Beth–type stores have yet to really invest in this genre. Most stores don’t know what to do with it since the genre includes fiction and nonfiction. For example, in most stores, our nonfiction “prepper” book How to Survive the End of the World by James Rawles is shelved under Home Repair. However, once brick-and-mortar retailers start to recognize the consumer-led trend, we’ll see an even greater boom in survivalist and apocalyptic fiction.
Customers find these books online and are only now starting to find them in retail stores. With TV shows such as Revolution and Under the Dome and movies such as World War Z and Contagion, this genre crosses many borders, and it’s only going to get bigger. Whether it’ll be similar to the erotica explosion is yet to be seen, but I’m betting there’s a future in apocalypse literature.
Are you prepared?