NEW DELHI: The year grabbed the headlines for fake news, but the Indian reader's faith, in fact, remained undeterred with non-fiction emerging the most popular literary category in 2018.
Continuing last year's trend, readers continued their love affair with non-fiction in all genres, including autobiographies, business and self-help books.
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Michelle Obama's memoir "Becoming", "The Spy Chronicles" by retired spy chiefs of India and Pakistan, and politician-author Shashi Tharoor's "Why I am a Hindu" were among the titles that did well, according to data released by Crossword bookstore.
Mark Manson's "The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k" was one of Hachette India's most popular titles this year, said publisher Poulomi Chatterjee.
Chatterjee, who is the Editor-in-chief of Hachette India noted that the book that witnessed "massive worldwide sales", was among "the self-help, self-improvement-to-negotiate-the-world kind of non-fiction" books that dominated the year.
"The Indian readership has traditionally always been partial to non-fiction, and that's what continues to rule today," Chatterjee said.
She added that this success in 2018 was not due to "one or two obvious sellers" but a number of books that have sold very well.
According to Prasun Chatterjee, editorial director, Pan Macmillan India, the year saw a spike in the interest for "non-fiction which relates to daily lives".
The publishing house's best-selling titles this year included "The Jobs Crisis in India", and "The Ferment: Youth Unrest in India", which, Chatterjee said, relate to the "questions of employment, aspirations of the youth which are relevant while our country goes into general elections in 2019".
Serious non-fiction also heated up the market significantly, with books like "The Dravidian Years", "Healers or Predators?", and "The Aadhar Effect".
"We are extremely happy with these books - in terms of both sales and reviews," Sugata Ghosh, Director, Academic Division, Oxford University Press (OUP) India, said.
However, Indians' love for non-fiction was not limited to new titles alone, as several publishing houses said 2018 was a hit for backlisters in the segment too.
While Penguin India witnessed growth in the sales of previous works of authors like Sudha Murthy, Ruskin Bond, and Yuval Noah Harari, Pan Macmillan's "India After Gandhi" by historian Ramachandra Guha continued to grow in sales along with the two parts of "Wonder That Was India" by AL Basham and SAA Rizvi.
"'Inner Engineering' by Sadhguru, launched in 2016, continues to be sold in big numbers," Nandan Jha, Senior Vice President, Penguin Random House India, said.
According to data shared by Crossword bookstores, other best-sellers in non-fiction this year included "The Heartfulness way", a book on spirituality by Kamlesh D Patel and Joshua Pollock, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "Exam Warrior".
From a business perspective too, publishers have declared 2018 a year of "reasonably good success".
While Pan Macmillan India registered an overall "growth of 7.5 per cent", Ghosh from OUP India said the sale was "decent" for academic titles, "great" for serious non-fiction and "not so great" for fiction.
"India remains to be one of the largest book markets and is seeing growth in both print and digital printing," Nandan Jha of Penguin Random House said.
Meanwhile, Crossword bookstores revealed a rise in the sale of fiction books like "Sacred Games", and "To All The Boys I've Loved Before", which have been adapted into TV series or movies aired on online streaming service Netflix.
The year has also been successful for Indian fiction writers like Chetan Bhagat and Twinkle Khanna whose respective books "The Girl in Room 105" and "Pyjamas Are Forgiving" were chart-toppers.