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A Very Serious 2023 Bookish Trend Forecast

Vivienne Woodward


Vivienne Woodward lives in Philly and works as the events coordinator for an indie bookstore. She can often be found drinking too much coffee in the sunny spot on her couch and over-identifying with fictional characters. She enjoys collecting hobbies, dancing to radio pop, and rearranging the book stacks on her side tables.

First of all, thank you for coming to my TedTok. Second of all, WAKE UP. That’s right, I said it. You’re here because I told you I was going to be discussing my bookish trend forecast for 2023. Here’s the thing: you’re already too late. By the time you are hearing this, TikTok will be finished, genre will be dead, and all of us are simply too late. I’m joking! I give TikTok another three months. My main point here is: if you have to ask, if you don’t simply feel the breeze of the zeitgeist as it blows this way and that, you may never catch up. But here’s to trying. 

Do you know what’s coming back? Randomness. As in, that’s so random. My recommendation? Start putting weird shit on your covers — I’m thinking chihuahua, rocket ship, ghost emoji. That’s so random and you know what? Maybe it will be a hit. It won’t work 99% of the time, but when it does? You will have an absolute smash hit on your hands. Influencer campaign? Nah. Social media wannabes will be begging you for a copy, but they’ll have to buy one at Barnes & Noble because you won’t have a single copy to spare. 

Do you know what the new platform for social media influencers is? You sure don’t and neither do I. If we want to find out, we could send a mass gchat to fetuses in Silicon Valley. They probably won’t answer, though, because #cybersecurity. 

I predict that punctuation is out. The world is burning and we don’t need convention and commas slowing us down — who has time to type, even!!! The publishing world is known for moving a million miles a minute and if you can’t keep up, cut things out. In this case: periods. The world will be so much brighter bigger more wide open once we stop bowing to the conventions of yore there is no reason to continue adhering to a system that has left us with a broken earth and what do they want us to do put periods at the ends of our sentences and separate our clauses with commas we no longer need to the next generation needs to have a voice and that voice will be absent of apostrophes

…anyway. It’s a trend FORECAST, we’re not quite there yet, but you can see how it’s the way of the future. Time and space are limited. 

If you thought millennial pink was big, wait until you get hit by gen z chartreuse. Start letting your cover designers know now. Pretty much everything should look like Yoda, except we won’t be making anymore references to Baby Yoda. We’re done with that. 

If the last ten years have been big for hot women in thrillers, the next ten years are all about the boy who is allowed to feel his emotions: sad boys. The boys will also, I’m sorry to say, be hot. The books do have to sell. But I’d say the world could use a little bit more healthy emotional processing and a little bit less of ladies getting chased with hammers because they couldn’t stop looking out their windows, etc., etc. 

Here is something: stop trying to make celebrity anthologies happen. You go: oh wow, look at all of these names on the cover and they all write at least 200 words on this topic that people will be excited about: activism! Food! Their first memory! w/e. You might as well put #ad on the cover because your thirst for easy sales is showing. No more of it! It’s dead. 

In 2023, I think we’re going to be seeing a lot of cute animal protagonists — an Aesopian renaissance, you might say. We have, oh, I don’t know, ten years left of there being animals on earth, and you’re going to want to start capitalizing on that now. The children born in 11 years are going to grow up in a world without LIONS. We must start immortalizing them in books and let me tell you that those sales may play the long game, but they will be evergreen come 2035. 

Listen, 2023 is going to throw us some curveballs. I can be certain of nothing, but I am relatively certain of that. Let me throw out a few more thoughts before I sign off to go play pickleball (so random, I know): geriatrics, mothership, taking life too seriously, hand-painted tile, larger trim sizes, larger font, larger advances, direct door to door marketing, catastrophizing, caring too much, squids, full body author photos. Thanks for coming to my trend forecast! Byeee!