How to categorize books by genre

Books Genre - The different book categories

Books are divided into many different book genres. Books can't just be sorted according to the target group subdivide, but also in terms of content. There are big differences between children's and young people's books, fiction and non-fiction. Especially if you are considering writing a book yourself, you should Genre and sub-genre know with their peculiarities.


The division of books into genres is very important for a number of reasons. For one, book lovers and reader based on genres that you like to choose your next book. Also Bookstores and libraries sort the books on the bookshelf by genre. For Publishers The classification plays a major role in aligning the marketing and marketing strategy accordingly. But what kind of book genre is there?

Books by target group

Regardless of the genre, books are occasionally categorized by age, i.e. by target group. In this case one speaks of Books for children and young peoplepublished with age recommendations, Fiction, so books of entertainment literature (also beautiful literature), and from Non-fiction books, the non-fictional literature. In non-fiction books, a distinction is again made between children and adults. Subject matter experts usually read special textbooks. Books for children and young people can also be further clustered. It is said that picture books are suitable for children up to 7 years of age, children's books for children from 8 years of age and books for young people are aimed at young adults from 12 years of age.

The books genre

Because of this, it is not always easy to get an exact book Assign to genre. But so that you know all genres, I present them to you in the following list, including their subgenre and their special features. Feel free to add your own thoughts to this list in the comments. Audio books and E-books are not books genre in the strict sense, as this is just a different form of version.


Fictional literature

To Fiction count books that come out of the pure fiction emerged out. They are not true stories - although fictional literature can have influences from true stories - and the characters and the plot are fictitious. Of A to Z Ficition can be divided into the following genres:

Family novel

The family novel is a type of novel that focuses on a family. The main conflict relates to the family relationships of one or more people. The family novel can be divided into further subgenre.

  • Generational novel
  • Family adventure novel
  • Family travel novel


Fantasy is arguably one of the most famous book genres. As the name suggests, fantasy stories are literature that does not take place in our world and has many fantastic and sometimes magical influences. This genre can therefore include books that are set in a completely different world than ours, or in which our world has been changed so much that although it can be recognized again, it can no longer be equated with it. These include:

  • fairy tale
  • High fantasy
  • Low fantasy
  • Urban fantasy
  • Time travel
  • Science fantasy
  • Funny fantasy
  • Animal Fantasy
  • Dark Fantasy

Social novel

In contrast to the family novel, the social novel does not focus on a group of relatives, but generally on social norms and behavior. Social conventions are mostly discussed here.

  • Big city novel
  • Development novel
  • Bildungsroman
  • Educational novel
  • Coming of Age

Historical novel

The historical novel, as the name suggests, takes place in the past and is based on the historical facts of our reality and refers to it. These circumstances can be the focus of the story as well as a secondary product of the main plot. Well-known subgenre for historical novels are:

  • Historical society novel
  • Historical romance
  • Historical adventure
  • Historical documentation
  • Historical crime thriller
  • Historical thriller


Books from the horror genre largely decide from the crime and thriller genres that the main focus here is on frightening the reader as much as possible and pushing them to their limits. Horror books are often marked by a lot of brutality.

  • Gothic horror
  • Paranormal horror
  • Slasher
  • Splatter
  • Graveyard horror
  • Psychological horror
  • Monster horror


Literature from the genre of humor focuses on being particularly funny. It should be noted, however, that humor as a genre does not exist alone in individual cases and is basically always mixed with at least one other genre. Humor can be found especially in dramas.


In addition to fantasy novels, crime thrillers are one of the best-selling books in the world. The focus in these books is on solving a crime. The crime thriller has more subgenre than any other genre of books.

  • Classic mystery thriller
  • Detective novel
  • Hardboilde crime thriller
  • Regional thriller
  • Pleasure thriller
  • Romantic suspense
  • Travel thriller
  • Poilzeir novel
  • Country house thriller
  • Court crime
  • Historical crime thriller
  • Ethnic crime thriller
  • Gangster thriller
  • Agent / spy novel
  • Forensic crime thriller
  • Splatter thriller
  • Noir crime thriller

Romance novel

As the name suggests, romance novels are primarily about love. It can be about discovering one's own feelings, not responding to feelings, or about a wedding or separation. Romance novels often live from a lot of heartbreak.

  • Erotic novel
  • Paranormal read novel
  • Gay romance
  • Love and Landscape
  • Historical romance novel
  • Chick Lit
  • Regency Romance
  • Dark Romance
  • Magic romance
  • Urban fantasy
  • Inspirational romance
  • Neckbiter

Science fiction

Science fiction literature is primarily defined by the epoch, namely the future in which it is set. Basically, sci-fi literature can include any other genre as its own sub-genre. However, the following genres are the most popular:

  • Hard sci-fi
  • Light Sci-Fi
  • (Post) apocalypse
  • (Dys) utopias
  • Cyberpunk
  • Alien fiction
  • Military
  • First contact
  • Sci-fi horror
  • Science fantasy
  • Space Opera


Steampunk is a special form of science fiction or the historical novel. Steampunk books are usually set in the past, but are characterized by a strong influence of technology, which mostly does not seem to fit into the corresponding epoch.

  • Near-future sci-fi
  • Time travel steampunk
  • Fantasy steampunk


Thrillers are closely related to crime novels. However, the thriller is not “only” about solving a crime, but rather about the life-threatening developments that a crime brings with it. Often the main character himself is put in great danger.

  • Psychological thriller
  • Romantic thriller
  • Erotic thriller
  • Horror thriller
  • Political thriller
  • Action thriller
  • Disaster thriller
  • Conspiracy thriller
  • Sci-Fi thriller
  • Techno thriller
  • Medical thriller
  • Science thriller
  • Spy / agent thriller

Non-fictional literature

In contrast to fiction, non-fictional literature - as the name suggests - is based on true events. This genre is therefore also Nonfiction called. Nonfiction is divided into four genres, each with its own sub-genre.


The biography is a representation of a person's life. It is based on true events and represents a person's life, with successes and failures. Biographies are also divided into genres, depending on who wrote the biography.

  • Autobiography
  • memoirs
  • Travel report

Reference book

Specialist books are scientific treatises related to a previously selected topic. They are aimed at a specialist audience. Here, the relevant topic is fully explained and the reporting in a specialist book is very factual and usually does not contain a personal opinion.

  • Manual
  • Scientific textbook
  • Practice-oriented textbook
  • Textbook / school book


A guide is a simplified form of a textbook that aims to explain a topic to you in an easy-to-understand way. Here you can often find your own opinions and comments. They are structured as simply as possible and designed so that they are not read through in one piece, but rather present the information in bits.


A topic is discussed in more detail in a non-fiction book. In contrast to the textbook, arguments are less scientific here.

Mixed literature

Books that are not entirely fictional are but too much fiction for one non-fictional Book included, too Faction Called books. This is primarily non-fictional literature, but it includes the writing style of a fictional book; such as the autobiographical novel. These include the following genres:

  • Factual novel
  • Entertaining non-fiction book
  • Novel and non-fiction
  • Biographical novel
  • Biography and novel

The specifics of genres

Every book and every genre has its own very personal characteristics and conventions, by which one can recognize the respective affiliation of a copy. Decisive for the sorting are among other things the history, the Characters like that too Setting. Because of this, many books can be sorted into different book genres; for example, fantasy and romance is a common mix. It is therefore often not easy to find a real selectivity. The decisive criterion for the final classification of a book is therefore usually the Main storyline or the Main conflict.

What is your favorite genre of books to read? Feel free to leave me a comment and feel free to add your own book genre completewhen you feel like I should have forgotten one thing.

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