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Top Best Selling Books by Year: 2000 vs. 2020

October 28, 2020

Things change a lot over twenty years. Back in the year 2000, Harry Potter books were really popular, and JK Rowling was churning novels out almost on an annual basis. Plus, self-help books sold really well back then.

In the year 2020, books about President Donald Trump and racism are really popular. It’s kind of weird that in the year 2000 people who loved Harry Potter and self-help bought Harry Potter and self-help books, but in 2020 people who despise Donald Trump and racism keep buying books about Trump and racism.

With that in mind here are the Top Selling Books (all genres except children’s) in 2000 (according to Best Sellers of 2000 in Books):

1. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling

2. Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson MD

3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling

4. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling

5. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by JK Rowling

6. Body for Life: 12 Weeks to Mental and Physical Strength by Bill Phillips

7. The Brethren by John Grisham

8. The Beatles Anthology: Beatles Gifts, The Beatles Merchandise, The Beatles Memorabilia) by The Beatles

9. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

10. Rich Dad, Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids about Money- That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not by Robert T. Kiyosaki and Sharon L. Lechter


Top Selling Books (so far) in 2020 (according to Best Sellers of 2020 in Books):

1. Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created The World’s Most Dangerous Man by Mary Trump

2. Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

3. Midnight Sun by Stephanie Meyers

4. Untamed by Glennon Doyle

5. White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard For White People To Talk About Racism by Robin DeAngelo

6. The Room Where It Happened by John Bolton

7. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

8. How To Be an Anti-Racist by Ibram X Kendi

9. Rage by Bob Woodward

10. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng


Some things don’t really change. In the year 2000, I was a cheapskate who didn’t buy best sellers when they first came out. That hasn’t changed. If I’m interested in a best seller, I’ll wait until I can find a cheap copy or check it out from the library.

Back in the year 2000, I didn’t read Harry Potter books because I’d already read (and gotten tired of) fantasy books by the time the Harry Potter books came out. I didn’t read self-help books because I thought most of the authors were scam artists.

Today, I don’t read books about Donald Trump because I can watch the news any time I want. I don’t read books about racism because I’m already anti-racist (or I’m too fragile).


Enough about me! What do you think? How have your reading habits changed over the last twenty years?

  1. I laughed at the ‘anti-racist or too fragile’ comment. I find it crazy that the bestseller list in 2000 is still so relevant today. Only yesterday someone recommended ‘Rich Dad Poor Dad’. I honestly thought it was a recent publication…. not TWENTY YEARS OLD. Over the last twenty years I have become decidedly picky about what I like to read and I attribute that to age. Twenty years ago I was 6 and remember devouring Enid Blyton and yes… Harry Potter. Now I am trying to read things that will benefit me but how do you know something will benefit you unless you’ve spent a significant number of hours reading it?

    • “…how do you know something will benefit you unless you’ve spent a significant number of hours reading it?”-

      That’s a good question. Hopefully, you can determine a book’s value in a few minutes rather than a few hours (unless the book’s first impression is really off).

      I wonder if Mary Trump has ever read Rich Dad, Poor Dad.

  2. Mine have. I read 6 out of 10 on the 2000 list, and none of the ten on the 2020 list. At some point in between those lists, I decided I no longer care what the bestsellers are. “Bestseller and “good book” are not synonyms.

    • How many of the books published in the year 2000 did you read in the year 2000? I’ve read maybe two of the books on the year 2000 list, but I didn’t read them in the year 2000.

      • I would say I read five of the six either in 2000 or prior. Number six I’m not sure about. Could have been a few years later.

  3. 20 years ago, I would read anything I could get my hands on. Since then, that hasn’t changed. What’s changed is my age and stamina. 20 years ago, I could read something like “Angels and Demons” straight through overnight and function just fine the next day, then come home and complete “The DaVinci Code” throughout the night and fiction again the next day. Now, I can’t make it through half of a TV Guide without falling asleep, no matter how engaged I am.

    Go figure. 20 years ago I used to be baffled by, and tease my uncle because he would read one page of a book a night. Not one sheet totaling two pages, just one page. That’s it. I still can’t do that. Until I fall asleep, I’m engrossed. ONE PAGE! Even more insane, he admitted that if a sentence ran to the next page, he did not feel the urge to at least finish the sentence. He would just reread the first half of the sentence the next night! I can respect the control of that, but the not finishing a sentence thing still drives me crazy. I’ve fallen asleep reading and woke up because I had to finish a sentence or paragraph. Once that’s completed I can really go to sleep. To me, it’s unfathomable. But 20 years ago I was incredulous, now I’m just quietly willing to accept there’s something quite broken in my uncles head.

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