The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles (Viking) was named the Best Book of the Year by Amazon Books editors. Editorial director Sarah Gelman said the novel was “the perfect book for the times,” noting that The Lincoln Highway appealed to everyone on the editorial team, a team known to have wide-ranging tastes.

Viking president and publishers Brian Tart said it was an honor to be named Amazon’s best book of the year “because there are so many worthy books to consider.” And Tart didn’t lose sight of the economic value. The award, he noted, “offers the winner unmatched visibility to the Amazon customers just as they are looking for holiday gifts.”

Gelman said the year in books was marked by strong interest in fiction, which she attributed to the need for escapism during the pandemic. And while some titles touched on Covid-19 last year, she expects a “wave of Covid fiction” to be released over the next couple of years.

Following The Lincoln Highway, the other top five books has chosen by the Amazon editors were Crying in H Mart: A Memoir by Michelle Zauner (Knopf); The Plot: A Novel by Jean Hanff Korelitz (Celadon); How the Word is Passed by Clint Smith (Little, Brown); and The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah (St. Martin’s). And though the Top 20 lists was dominated by adult titles, the children’s picture book The Beatryce Prophecy by Kate DiCamillo and illustrated by Sophie Black (Candlewick) landed in 13th place on the list.

In choosing the titles for the year’s top books, Gelman said the Amazon team looks for titles with universal themes by new, diverse voices. The selections by the editors are entirely their own, and don’t include such usual Amazon metrics as sales or reviews. Gelman said it is important for Amazon to have an editorially-driven process, because the book editors “are the curators for the store.”