The books India read in 2017, according to Amazon

The real money-makers.
The real money-makers.
Image: Reuters/Vivek Prakash
We may earn a commission from links on this page.

In 2017, Indians shopping for books on were overwhelmingly looking for one thing: textbooks.

According to the Reading Trends Report 2017, the highest-selling book on the website was M Laxmikanth’s Indian Polity, an 852-page clunker designed for students attempting the highly-competitive civil services examinations. Overall, exam preparation was the most popular genre on, with books such as Word Power Made Easy, A Brief History of Modern India, and General Knowledge 2018 ranking high on the 2017 best-seller list.

This is perhaps not surprising, given that educational books drive India’s publishing industry, accounting for around 70% of the market, according to Nielsen. However, Indians did shop for some literature and fiction, both local and foreign, as well as self-help and romance books.

The overall best-sellers on include the usual suspects: Amish Tripathi, author of the Shiva trilogy, and Chetan Bhagat, whose most recent book, One Indian Girl, was a story of love and marriage from the female point of view.

And 30 years after it was first published, Indians are still reading Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist with gusto.

The best-selling books on in 2017:

In the regional language categories, self-help books were a big hit, with translations of Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki and Sharon Lechter and The Secret by Rhonda Byrne ranking high on the best-seller list. And Heera Pheri, by the crime-fiction writer Surender Mohan Pathak, was the readers’ choice among the top five best-selling Hindi books in a poll conducted by between Dec. 13 and Dec. 22, 2017.

In terms of sales, labelled Bengaluru as the “most well-read” city, ranking above Mumbai and Delhi, which topped the list last year.

The top 10 Indian cities in terms of sales:

For readers looking for something other than textbooks and self-help, may we gently suggest the best books Quartz India read in 2017.