Decade in books: Writers work magic, delivery has transformed

Human readers made it a big decade for novels about wizards, vampires and a Harvard symbologist. Two series for kids with “crossover” appeal to grown-ups —J.K. Rowling ‘s Harry Potter and Stephenie Meyer ‘s Twilight— swept nine of the top 10 spots on USA TODAY’s best-selling books of the decade. Dan Brown ‘s The Da Vinci Code is No. 2.

Rowling was a best seller before 2000, when third book Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire sold a record 3 million copies its first weekend.

By 2007’s release of the finale, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows , speculation about Harry’s death (unfounded) rose to levels not seen since Charles Dickens ‘ 19th-century serials. A record 8.3 million copies sold in a day.

In 2007, Meyer, a Mormon stay-at-home mom, began an unprecedented dominance of the best-seller list with her Twilight series about a chaste teen romance starring a vampire. Last year, she sold 22 million books.

Brown hit it big in 2003 with Da Vinci , a thriller mixing fact and fiction. It made best sellers out of Brown’s three earlier novels. His latest, The Lost Symbol , has sold 4 million copies since September.

Rowling, Meyer and Brown had help from Hollywood, but their books were blockbusters in their own right: “They opened as big or bigger than the most anticipated movies, with pre-orders and opening-night parties, which spilled over to other books,” says Michael Cader, founder of Publishers Lunch , a digital newsletter. Each sold “quantities of hardcovers once unimaginable.”


Quiz: Test your vampire knowledge

So you think you know your hunky vampires, Twilight fans? It was a very hot year for the undead — in novels, of course. And Stephenie Meyer wasn’t the only writer successfully spinning supernatural tales. Test your knowledge by matching the title with the gory detail…

Take the quiz here.

It has been an amazing decade for books especially supernatural and paranormal. I have read some great material, even if they’re not bestsellers or very popular.

What are your faves from this past decade?

How did you do on the vamp quiz?