5 Things Millennials Are Looking for In a Book

nancy_howard.jpg  Professional writer, blogging, IT and marketing.

  WWS contributor



Whenever the topic of Millennials comes up, the first thing that comes to mind is usually technology, smartphones, video games, and social media. However, it may interest you to know that Millennials are voracious readers too.

In fact, according to a study from the Pew Research Center, Millennials are out-reading older generations. Yep, Millennials read way more than any other demographic, with the average Millennial reading at least five books each year.

This group of young people, whose birth years fall between 1981 and 1996, love their smartphones and selfies, but they also have a real love and appreciation for literature.

Here are the five things the average Millennial is looking for in a book.


1. Relatable Characters and Stories


When surveyed, it was found that a whopping 61 percent of Millennials are interested in reading books that reflect their values, cultural backgrounds, and personal identities. In other words, when reading books, Millennials want to either relate to the story or find characters in the stories they can relate to.

When it comes to relatable book characters, Millennials want to be able to understand the motivations that drive the actions of the characters even though they do not always agree with or like the choices such characters make.

That being said, Millennials want characters to evoke a range of emotion in them. They want to be able to laugh with a character, fear for a character, want a character to succeed, and so on. Therefore, as a writer targeting this demographic, your characters must be dynamic, complex, and have qualities that are recognizable and relatable.

Also, because Millennials are the most diverse and educated demographic today, they have developed a value system quite different from other generations and demographics. So, when trying to attract the interest of Millennials, you have to take into account how very different they are and tailor your writing style to their taste.



2. To Be Informed


A large percentage of Millennials are interested in informative, non-fiction subjects. These include books on cooking, history, and health/fitness/wellness. This explains why “How-to” books are popular among this demographic.

Among Millennials, men tend to prefer reading non-fiction books on history, business/careers, and finance, while women prefer reading non-fiction books about cooking, and parenting.

For example, if a Millennial is reading a book on business/career development they want practical information that will help them navigate the business world and improve their careers. They want to know that the author applied this information to their own jobs and got results.

Give detailed step by step instructions in words that are easy to understand. Use infographics, charts, or photographs, if possible, to illustrate your point.  It is also best to stay away from cliché phrases or words because Millennials don’t appreciate such vagueness.

When writing for this demographic, it’s best to explain complex, esoteric concepts in simple/layman language that’s easy to understand.


3. Inspiring/motivating Stories


Millennials want to be inspired, especially in the present hard political and economic climate, where they are not able to reach certain milestones as fast as the older generations did.

Inspirational stories are basically ideas that motivate readers to take action that will improve their life or solve problems that they currently face. It helps give people the courage to reach set goals, be happy, prosperous, and generally feel better about themselves.

These types of books are popular among Millennials because it helps them make decisions concerning their life’s journey, solve inner and outer problems, and helps them aspire to greater things.

According to data from Blue Cross Blue Shield, Millennials are getting diagnosed with major depression at a rising and faster rate compared to other generation cohorts. This has caused a lot of Millennials to start reading books they can draw inspiration from.

Biographies/memoirs and self-help/psychology books were ranked number one and five respectively when it comes to non-fiction books Millennials are interested in.

For Millennials, inspirational/motivational books usually cover topics that deal with empathy, compassion, gratitude, creativity, productivity, meditation, faith, love, hope, and self-discovery.


4. Entertaining/Compelling Stories


As a writer, you must understand that there are a lot of things vying for the attention of Millennials. Life can get really mundane and downright painful for them too. Books that are entertaining give them an outlet to escape life’s harsh realities, even if it’s for a little while.

Your books are not just in competition with other books; they compete with movies, series, podcasts, games, social media, blog posts, and so on. Therefore, anything you write has to be very entertaining if you want to attract and keep the attention of Millennials.

Millennials want to read stories that will make them laugh, capture their imagination, and keep them in suspense. This is the reason why Mystery/Suspense, adult fiction, and fantasy rank highest on the genres of fiction books they enjoy reading with over half of Millennials interested in these genres.

Therefore, when writing a story that will entertain Millennials, make sure it is full of humor, surprises, has unique and compelling characters, suspense filled with the right amount of detail and, most importantly, honest.



5. Romance/Love


There is a reason why almost all books have a romance plot or romantic scenes in them. One reason is that it makes people feel connected and closer to the characters. Love is a very powerful emotion that captivates all of us.

The definition of love and romance for Millennials is different from the generations that preceded them, though. This is especially true in our modern day and age when women are no longer interested in having the kind of marriages and families their parents had.

The usual storyline where the man is the breadwinner or the billionaire, and he rescues the poor village girl no longer appeals to Millennials. Millennials want romance plots where they are getting married to their best friend, who is romantic and their financial equal. They are not interested in books where women suffer in the name of love.

Millennials admire power couples such as Jay Z and Beyoncé and want to see that represented in love stories/plots. They are also very open-minded compared to the baby boomers, so they don’t shy away from love stories that have same-sex and queer couples.

In Conclusion

As already mentioned, there are a lot of things vying for the attention of Millennials today, especially with modern technology constantly bringing new things to light. Every industry is trying hard to adapt to all the changes ushered in, including Millennials.

So, as a writer looking to reach the young people, you have your work cut out for you to captivate the minds of Millennials amidst all that is happening all around us. But, by understanding what they are looking for in a book, you can give them exactly what they want.

And when you give them what they want, studies show that about 80% of Millennials are likely to read your book more than any other demographic. That alone is an excellent reason to keep learning all you can about the literary preferences of young people today and what interests Millennials. Doing that can have a positive affect on your book sales.

Nancy P. Howard has been working as a writing expert at Online Writers Rating for a year. She is also a professional writer in such topics as blogging, IT and marketing. She loves travelling, photography and always welcome to meet new people.