The Different Genres of Books (With Descriptions)

Although we know what reading is good for, selecting the right book can seem overwhelming.

A way that we tell the difference between the many books is by looking at a book’s genre.

This article contains a list of different types of books and a selection of their examples.

What does a book category mean?

These are the sub-categories or categories that books fall under.

This is an invaluable tool that can be used to help you choose the right book for you.

What is the point of having book genres?

Imagine walking into a library with every book alphabetically organized. This would create a mess that is almost impossible to navigate.

As people, Naturally, we tend to place things in groups To make it easier for you to comprehend.

That is where a book’s genre comes in. Writings are easier to categorize when it is this easy.  The books in a bookstore are organized according to type. This makes it easy for customers to find what they need.

What is the best way to determine what genre a book belongs in?

Well, if you’re at a library or book store (online or brick-and-mortar), then all the books should be organized by category. That makes it easy to browse books you’re likely to want to read.

Otherwise, when you’re reading the book, start to look for the following

  • Principal character
  • The book’s setting
  • Certain plot points

Is it possible for a book to have different genres?

There are many genres that books can be. For example, a book about wizards (let’s call him… Harry), may also be a teen coming of age drama.

The Two Types of Books – Fiction and Nonfiction

Fiction or nonfiction will be the name of nearly every book that you’ll ever read.

What’s a fiction novel?

A fiction book, in essence, is one that contains elements created or made up by the author.

Although these stories may be set in actual places and times, fiction can only exist if the plot is invented or the characters created.

What exactly is a nonfiction title?

The nonfiction book can be based upon real facts and events.

There’s plenty of different sub-genres of nonfiction. They include biographies and dictionary entries, as well as those of famous people.

How can I determine if a book contains fiction or nonfiction content?

It should be possible to discern from the plot if a book contains fiction or nonfiction. If you are unsure, it is possible to do a quick check.

If you look at the back of the title page, there will be a ‘call number’.

This number can be increased if necessary 813.54, then Fiction is book.

Anything other (not 813) qualifies as an a Nonfiction

There are many book genres.

There are many genres to choose from once you have separated a book into fiction and nonfiction.

On Amazon’s book marketplace, there can be up to Five sub-categories That a book will be destroyed.

If we listed every Amazon category, we’d be here all day.

So, instead, we’ll look at the more well-known genres of books and not deep dive too far into the rabbit hole of sub-categories.

It is possible for readers to be extremely loyal in certain genres, according to me.

Fiction books by genre

Below is a list of sub-genres and genres that are suitable for fiction books.

The Classics

A book that has survived the test of time, is still useful and provocative.

In my opinion, a book isn’t one of the ‘classics’ until the author has died (yep, I know it sounds harsh!).

The Great Gatsby Here’s an example.

Literary Fiction

Literary fiction is usually indirect and contains some analysis of what it means for humans.

George Orwell’s 1984 This is an example of literary fiction.

General Fiction

These stories are easy to relate to in a modern setting.

They’re more approachable than Literary Fiction These ingredients are not genre-specific and do not include any of the elements that other types rely upon.

Historical Fiction

The plot of a book is at least 30 years old when it was written.

Historical fiction can also be broken down into sub-categories and time periods.

Sub-genres include historical fiction and World War II historical fiction.


The book where the main characters or other characters are in love.

You will find many sub-categories in this category.

  • Contemporary Romance
  • Historical Romance
  • Paranormal romance:
  • Erotica
  • Romance Series


Fear is a key element in the story.

  • Monster
  • Psychological
  • Gore

Suspense and mystery

The story of a book in which the characters are the ones who discover why or when they will be doing it again.

Again, there’s a whole lot of sub-genres for mystery or suspense.

  • Do not be a detective!
  • Mysterious small town mysteries: Do you know why some towns are so full of crime?
  • Mysteries of the police
  • Psychological thriller


Fantasy books may be set in either a completely fictional world or one with magic elements. Harry Potter).

I’m not going to go through the hundreds of sub-categories for fantasy, but there are a bunch.

Action and adventure

The book in which the protagonist embarks on a journey.

  • Adventure: The main character travels to many different locations and places.
  • Military/Espionage – Usually, the government or military is involved.
  • Western is the old-school western cowboy movie. Doc Mary Doria Russell’s Western is a great example.
books organized in a shelf

Science Fiction

Many books set the story in the future.

I know I’ve said it about a few fiction genres, but Sci-Fi has more subcategories than any other type.

There are three sub-genres to Science Fiction.

  • Space Opera
  • Dystopian world
  • Steampunk

There are many genres for nonfiction books

Fiction books are based on factual stories and events.


The books that examine past events.

Most history books have extensive research and focus on a country or an era.

It is possible to write historical nonfiction as either a story or an educational text.

Autobiography or Biography

A biography or autobiography is the story of a particular person’s life.

Here are some examples of different life stories:

  • Autobiography: The author’s life story is shared with the world.
  • Memoir: Like an autobiography, but only about a particular theme or time from the author’s life
  • Biography is a life story that the author tells by interviewing or researching a subject.

It is also possible to find diaries or collections of letters that are compatible with this genre.


Writing where the author (called a ‘poet’) gives emphasis to rhythm and style.

Poetry is often written in verse.


Books discussing or collecting art. It can be either visual art such as paintings, or more physical arts, like theatre.

Many art books include information about the history and creation of that art.


Books that discuss music history, theory or songbooks are called music books.


Books that make you laugh. Books written in concise, simple-to-read sections.


Books about a specific faith.

This can be history or books on the subject.


Stories and books about ancient religions not being practiced.


The academic perspective on knowledge and existence.

Numerous philosophy books date back to the ancient past, some even dating back to antiquity.

Alternative Belief

These books look at non-mainstream beliefs systems many people hold.

This includes psychic powers, fortune-telling and astrology.

Health and Wellness

These books provide information on all possible methods to stay and get well.

These books can be used to help with specific medical problems, as well as advice about nutrition and alternative medicine.


Science books are about the physical sciences such as mathematics, technology.

Social Science

Social Science books examine social relations and the relationships between them. These include sociology, anthropology and political science.


These books examine the mental, emotional and physical well-being.


The Self-Help books provide strategies and techniques to help you achieve self-improvement.

This self-help book covers leadership, motivation and habit creation. It also includes productivity, mindset, mental health, and many other topics.

Learning Texts

The books that examine and participate in education. It includes:

  • Textbooks
  • Educational books
  • Teachers’ books
  • Pedagogy
  • Lesson plans

Refer to

It is essential and objective to have the following information: dictionaries, encyclopedias. Book abstracts. Study guides. Books of quotations.


The creation and management of companies are the main focus of business books.

You can find information on career advancement in these books.

This business book covers the topics listed below

  • Small business management
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership
  • Financial Planning
  • Real estate agents need to be specific about their career.
  • Investing
  • Economics


Books about the communication of humans, even in foreign languages.

  • TV/Cinema
  • Rhetoric
  • Foreign Language

Garden, Home and DIY

The books about the house and the garden as well as how to keep it beautiful are available.

It also includes books about agriculture and farming.

Take Care of Your Pets

There are books about caring for pets.


The books are about hobbies, which most often serve as a hobby.

This includes crafts, fashion, clothing, and outdoor activities, such as fishing, or any other sport.

Cook Books

History and recipes. You can find these cooking books in narrative format, which gives context and explains the significance of each recipe.

Some books on food also mention starting a food truck or restaurant.


True Crime books share the histories and stories of specific crimes. Many of the books can be described as factual, while some are narrative.

Final Thoughts

You will be surprised at the number of genres available in books. This guide will help you next time you’re in the book store or library.