Zombies vs. Vampires

Finally, a blog post that addresses the main question on everyone’s mind: In an epic battle to the death, who would win—zombies or vampires?

Well, we’re not actually coordinating a Fight Club style battle, but here at BookNet, we’ve taken some time to look into zombie and vampire books. Many readers have undying devotion to their favourite paranormal genres and read these books voraciously. But when it comes to which is more popular, who wins?

Vampires have a much longer history than zombies, dating back to the early 18th century. The famous classic, Dracula (1897), by Bram Stoker, is probably the earliest popularization of the blood-sucking genre. Zombie popularity didn’t seem to rise until the late 19th century.

The Twilight series arguably (re)popularized the vampire fiction genre by appealing to readers who wanted drama and the tensions of young, forbidden love. This series was omitted from this mini-study to keep the battle playing field as fair as possible. Because there is no specified zombie or vampire genre or BISAC code, we’ve had to hunt down popular books with zombie/vampire subject matter and use this sample as a rough representation of the market. We looked at the top 25-30 titles in each genre based on Goodreads fan groups as a basis for our sample.

Zombies vs Vampires: Average Units Sold by Week

The books are a mix of single titles and series. We found that vampire books tend to come in series and are often aimed at the YA market with genres varying from Juvenile Fiction/Fantasy & Magic to Fiction/Fantasy/General. On the other hand, zombie books are singles and series books with the majority falling in the Fiction/Horror genre. Interestingly, despite the description of romance and sensuality in vampire book synopses, none of the vampire books included in this study were listed as any kind of romance. Two zombie books, however, were.

Zombie vs Vampires Subject graph

SalesData shows that both genres were fairly low in sales until the fall/winter of 2008 where both genres begin to see an increase in sales. Spring of 2008 is when vampire titles seem to take the lead over zombie books and continue to experience higher average sales throughout 2009 until the holiday season. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and The Zombie Survival Guide were the two most popular books and set sales skyrocketing when they came out just before Christmas. Still, vampire books maintain a strong lead over zombie books.

The tables turn, however, in the spring of 2011. Vampire books sales drop to under 100 average sales per week, giving zombie books the chance to eat their brains and surpass them. It’s a slow climb (zombies are slow moving, after all) but judging by the recent holiday season, it seems zombie books may be on the rise. Grab your shotgun!