As part of our awards coverage, we’ve often followed the Goodreads Choice Awards and the Graphic Novel category in particular. It’s a reader selected award, mostly a popularity contest, but sometimes it’s nice to know what’s popular. 

For this year’s awards, however, Goodreads has decided to shake-up the categories, by adding a Romantasy category and REMOVING Children’s & Middle Grade, Poetry, and Graphic Novels. 

2023 Goodreads Choice Awards Update

It’s time for our favorite event of the year: the Goodreads Choice Awards! These are the only major book awards decided by readers, and we can’t wait to find out which books readers loved the most in 2023.

Our goal is to have the Goodreads Choice Awards reflect the books that are most popular with our members, based on the millions of books added, rated, and reviewed on Goodreads each year. As part of this, we have made adjustments to our categories over time. This year, we are adding a new Romantasy category and we will not include Children’s & Middle Grade, Poetry, and Graphic Novels, resulting in a total of 15 categories. You can find the full list of this year’s categories here.

Those remaining categories are:

Honestly, there doesn’t seem to be much rhyme or reason to this. YA Fantasy and SF is a category but…..CHILDREN’S BOOKS AREN’T?

Predictably, this did not go over well on social media:

Ire was raised, and social media workers tried to be polite.

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The lack of diversity among nominees was also cited. 

As to why these categories were removed, according to a few tweets, it has something to do with the number of nominees in each category – and there not being enough in the removed categories. I can see poetry having a small cadre of dedicated nominators, and I guess small children don’t know what Amazon is, but were graphic novels really not up to code when manga was the most explosively popular book category over the last few years?

The Goodreads awards do offer metrics – total votes! — so I wondered if GNs lagged there? Last year’s winner, Heartstopper Vol 4,  received 138,174 votes out of 318,167 total votes in the category.

Checking a few other categories in 2022:

Fiction: Tomorrow, Tomorrow and Tomorrow  – 90,971 votes,  490,873 votes total
Fantasy: House of Sky and Breath – 105,718 votes,  497,369 votes total
Nonfiction: Atlas of the Heart: Mapping Meaningful Connection and the Language of Human Experience –   34,200 votes, 231,426 votes total
Romance: Book Lovers – 175,857 votes, 616,858 votes total
Poetry: Call Us What We Carry: Poems –  44,813 votes, 177,181 votes total
Middle Grade and Childrens: I Am Quiet: A Story for the Introvert in All of Us – 26,266 votes, 193,282 votes total

As you can see, comics definitely held their own, and are certainly as popular as the outrageously-named Romantasy, which is just a new name for something that’s been popular for a few centuries. Comics were even shut out of the “Humor” category, which for years in olden times was the refuge of bestsellers like Garfield and Calvin and Hobbes.  But not any more! Sarah Anderson’s delightful Sarah’s Scribbles collections won in the Graphic Novel category a few times. Instead, this year’s Humor category includes things like Henry Winkler’s autobiography. Eyyyyyyyyyy! 

Will the outcry cause Amazon/Goodreads to change their minds? Well, we all know Amazon doesn’t really listen to outcry, or at least doesn’t react very quickly. So, don’t hold your breath. 

In the meantime, yuck. 

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  1. Fine with it, but successful GNs should be nominated in their respective genres. Comics is a language, not a genre.

  2. It’s frustrating that they dropped the Graphic Novels category, but I’ve always found the selection of titles people could vote on lacking in many ways.

    For example, I looked back at all of the nominees from 2011 to now (12 years) and I was only able to find three manga titles that weren’t based on novels originally published in English. (2014: Attack on Titan: No Regrets, Vol. 1; 2015: Attack on Titan, Vol. 15; 2016: Orange: The Complete Collection, Volume 1).

    I don’t know who at Goodreads was picking what went on these lists, but they clearly weren’t manga fans.

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