What are some upcoming trends for the next year?
The major trends that I see are a push for diversity across all age groups and an interest in unconventional stories.
In fiction, readers are looking for a representation of different races, sexual orientations, gender identities, and people with different abilities. In adult fiction and YA fiction, we’re seeing more LGBT romance or just LGBT characters. Some of these were originally self-published, like Captive Prince by C.S. Pacat. We are seeing an increase in books for young readers that feature trans or gender nonconforming characters, like George by Alex Gino, and Jacob’s New Dress by Sarah Hoffman.
Another big trend that I see is that speculative fiction and geek culture have gone mainstream. An increasing amount of literary fiction now includes science-fiction or fantasy elements. I think this is an important trend that will continue for years to come. I’m also seeing an uptick in more unconventional storytelling like unreliable narrators and fictional biographies (such as The Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin and Platinum Doll by Anne Girard). It seems readers are looking for something different. I’m not sure if this is because of Gone Girl or Game of Thrones, but there is a big trend toward unique stories.
Other than that, I’m seeing lots of literature in translation, not just Scandinavian, but other places, too. There are also an increasing number of titles published by mainstream houses that were originally self-published and of established authors leaving the big houses to self-publish.
In adult nonfiction, I’m seeing adult coloring books and mental health issues coming to the forefront, particularly PTSD and healing from trauma. Also, true-life stories from soldiers are gaining in popularity.
What book/genre/topic would you like to see cross your transom?
I would love to see more African-American fiction that is not necessarily urban fiction, such as authors similar to Beverly Jenkins. I think there’s a real interest for romance or general fiction that’s featuring nonwhite characters.
What topic don’t you ever want to see again?
I think all genres have a place, but I’m not a big fan of frat-boy fiction like Tucker Max.
What’s unique about your corner of the publishing industry?
A public library can help introduce readers to unknown authors. We offer shelf space to undiscovered authors whom we feel the community will connect with. People come to the library for many reasons, such as checking out materials, attending children’s programming, or filling out an online job application. This presents an exciting opportunity to connect authors with our diverse customer base. We are also an important resource for new immigrant families coming into the U.S. Public libraries offer a space for immigrants to explore the culture of their new homeland and to discover authors both in their native language and also in English.
Frank Giammarino is the collection development manager at the Austin Public Library in Austin, Texas. He received his BA in sociology from Vassar College, a J.D. from New York Law School, and a MLIS from Pratt Institute. He has previously worked at the County of Los Angeles Public Library system, and he’s originally from New York. He is a history buff and loves to read royal biographies. His two all-time favorites are Marie Antoinette: The Journey by Antonia Fraser and Catherine de Medici: Renaissance Queen of France by Leonie Frieda.