As human beings, we emotionally relate to books in different ways because our experiences define us and they define how we interpret things.
One story could hit a huge number of people in many different ways depending on who they are and their interpretation of the story.
Writers always have this in mind when they write their books. They always have an audience in mind but they also strike a balance in that they write catering to people within and outside of their audience.
The way a book ends says a lot about a writer and the audience they write for. This then leaves us with the question:
“Do people like books with sad endings or happy endings?”
Well the best answer is this; people like books with endings that are consistent and honest within the context of the story. The author from the inception of the book comes up the plot and defines a good beginning and ending which ties into a well thought-out finish. People like both sad and happy endings as long as it is line with the story.
However, authors may not always give the people what they want in an ending because of various reasons. Sometimes a happy ending ends the story and takes away any room for a sequel. Sometimes a sad ending is the emotional commitment an author needs to make the sequel fly off the shelfs.
All in all, readers want to be happy. If a sad ending is the thing that does that they will be happy with it, if a happy ending is the thing that makes them happy they will be happy with it.
How we can categorize endings
There are so many different reasons why authors write books but they always have to understand the influence of everything they write on the reader. This makes authors end stories in many different ways.
Book endings always play to some element in the authors mind. Everything written in books is intentional therefore I’ll discuss how endings are thought about and how they can be categorized.
Books are written for different kinds of people. The content in them can easily tell you who the target audience is. When writers write certain books they stick to a realistic point of view that then becomes the theme on which the writing centers.
In such books, everything has to make perfect sense and there’s little room for the author to sway from this. Many of these books often times have endings that make perfect sense.
For example, a love story about two kids who grow up together, fall in love at a young age, end up going to two different states for their college education and then struggle to find love as they date different people will have an ending that has the two kids reuniting and getting married because they were “meant to be” or “soul mates”. You see how that story just makes perfect sense?
Some authors write this way because readers will be happy with such an ending. Why? Because the author builds up to a “perfect sense” ending with a story that just makes logical sense.
Perfect sense writing exists in many different ways and is used in many varied ways by authors. Of course a story has to make some sense to be cohesive enough so the reader can understand. However, some writers play to the intelligence of people.
In such scenarios the author will write the story building up to a predictable or unpredictable ending that can then be used to play to the audience’s intelligence or wit.
It’s very common to find books with ambiguous endings in which the reader has to be makeup their own mind about what the ending means.
Readers of such material are prepared and will be happy with an ambiguous ending even if it’s not apparent to them.
Writing is a very calculated craft this is why we get addicted to books, movies, songs, plays. Writers are very strategic and most of them understand psychology. This almost makes them subtle hypnotists.
Some endings are written to be a memorable totem that the reader can walk away with and remember for as long as possible. Authors usually use this form of writing to prepare the audience for a follow up book. This is done very subtly to make sure the average reader doesn’t see it within the writing.
Readers of such writing will be happy with the ending whether sad or happy depending on the context of the book. The author can capitalize on this by leaving an impact with either a sad or happy ending.
Some writing is meant to have edginess to it. Usually the author in such situations will utilize the effects of drama. There’s nothing that leaves an impact like a dramatic ending.
The author may combine various kinds of writing and use the story and plot as a way to build up to highly dramatic, highly impactful ending.
Readers of such content will almost always be in shock after reading such endings and will often appreciate the authors writing whether the ending is happy or sad or devastating.
Some writing has to be in line with a sense of morality because of the story, plot and characters. Such writing in most cases will have an ending that plays to general morality.
This is not to say the writer won’t do their best to make the ending impactful. However such books usually have a predictable ending because there’s not much room for the author to stretch their pen.
For example the story of somebody successful will usually abide to certain moral rules and a good ending.
Readers of such material can easily predict the ending but not always.
Some endings are just meant to rile up emotions and this may mean a sad ending or happy ending depending on which can make the best impression on the readers emotions.
Readers often times won’t see a highly emotional ending but will appreciate it nonetheless.
Every author knows that people will almost always relate to the protagonist of the story. Therefore most endings will be meant to give the reader some comfort and room to relate to the star of the story.
Readers are usually happy when the story makes sense and favors the protagonist.
In conclusion it’s fair to say that people like book endings that give them entertainment or closure or both.