In a decade defined by technology, people still turned to one old favorite: the printed page.
Still, this may be remembered as the decade where technology — think Kindle and other portable e-book readers — began to overtake the bound volume.
However it is read, the content is what captivates. And in the 2000s, it was novels about wizards and vampires creating frenzies that in turn created major movie franchises.
From novels about secret societies to essays about family, here are the books that dominated this decade.
Books of the Decade
“Harry Potter” series by J.K. Rowling
Ah, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The magical and mystical school is the site of the seven novels, four of which were published in the 2000s.
Potter fans dressed in costume, camped out in front of bookstores and movie theaters and bought books faster than anyone ever had before.
Two of the novels (“Deathly Hallows” and “The Half-Blood Prince”) were Amazon.com's best-selling books of the decade, and the series made Rowling the best-selling author of the decade.
The world's obsession with the boy wizard pushed Harry's reach even further, creating the hugely popular film series, which launched in 2001.
“The Da Vinci Code” by Dan Brown
Symbologist Robert Langdon keeps getting into hairy situations involving secret societies, art, artifacts, murder, mysteries, heroes and villains.
The excitement in Brown's three novels about Langdon — “Angels & Demons,” “The Da Vinci Code” and “The Lost Symbol” — caused copies to fly off shelves by the millions.
Much like Harry Potter, it branched out into a hugely popular film series.
“Twilight” series by Stephenie Meyer
Sparkly vampires and teenage angst fuel this series of four novels (and, again, the subsequent film series). The story of 17-year-old Bella falling in love with 104-year-old Edward caused teenage girls (and their older counterparts) to go vampire crazy. Out of the rampant success of “Twilight” came a host of vampire-related books, movies and TV shows, from “True Blood” to the spoof “Transylmania.”
“Million Little Pieces” by James Frey
First, folks were captivated by Frey's first-person, rambling tale about drug and alcohol abuse and rehab. Being selected for Oprah's Book Club helped catapult it to the top of the New York Times best-seller list. But questions about Frey's supposedly factual experiences brought national infamy when Frey revealed that parts of the book were fictional.
“Freakonomics” by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
With themes including cheating among sumo wrestlers, the authors introduced economic theory and data sets in new ways that managed to educate many.
“The Audacity of Hope” by Barack Obama
This is the book that introduced many to the then-senator, now president. It also fueled Obama's presidential run, as it was published a mere three months before he announced his candidacy.
“The Secret Life of Bees” by Sue Monk Kidd
It's set in South Carolina in 1964. Lily tells her story of running away with her caregiver to live with three sisters. The best-selling novel touches on racism, family and hope, and spawned a film starring Dakota Fanning and Jennifer Hudson.
“My Sister's Keeper” by Jodi Picoult
Anna wants emancipation from her parents so she doesn't have to give a kidney to her older sister, who has leukemia. The story is thrilling and heart-rending, at the same time tackling legal and family matters. It, too, spawned a movie.
“The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay” by Michael Chabon
The story of two cousins trying to break into the world of comic books in the 1940s doesn't sound like a thrilling read, but Chabon fills each line with staggering detail and creates a caring connection between reader and character.
“The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini
Not only does it come it at No. 9 on Amazon's best-selling books of the decade list, but it gave context to some of this decade's biggest events in a touching and riveting read that follows an Afghan boy and reveals struggles of his homeland.
Nebraska Author of the Decade
Poetry may not be the popular choice in literature. But Nebraska poet Ted Kooser worked to change that as U.S. poet laureate for two terms. The Ames, Iowa, native won a Pulitzer Prize for his 2004 collection, “Delights and Shadows.” He has released a total of seven collections since 2001's “Winter Morning Walks.”
Honorable mention: Omaha native Chris Ware drew considerable critical acclaim for his 2000 graphic novel “Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth.” The title won him Eisner, Harvey and American Book Awards.
Graphic novels of the decade
1. Death of Captain America (Marvel)
Comic book readers count on their favorite hero making it through the death traps and diabolical machinations of the villains. When Captain America was assassinated in the pages of “Captain America No. 25,” it shocked characters in the series and readers alike — and made national news.
2. Y the Last Man (Vertigo)
Being the last man on Earth in a world full of women sounds like a dream come true, but for Yorick and his monkey, Ampersand, it's a hellish, post-apocalyptic life on the run. The exciting and funny series ended in 2008.
3. Scott Pilgrim (Oni Press)
Who said comics are all spandex and action? This funny series follows the adventures and follies of the lovelorn Scott Pilgrim and his pursuit of Ramona Flowers. Unfortunately for Scott, he must defeat Ramona's seven evil ex-boyfriends in order to date her.
4. Fables (Vertigo)
Favorite characters from fairy tales and folklore are forced out of their world and into ours, where they deal with non-fairy-tale issues such as infidelity, murder and politics.
5. Astonishing X-Men (Marvel)
Joss Whedon, the guy behind “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” took the best of the X-Men and wrote the most exciting and daring adventures they've ever been on. The mighty mutants take on many threats, including old villains, a mutant cure and aliens.
6. Walking Dead (Image)
Who would have thought that the best, scariest zombie movie wouldn't be a movie at all? Robert Kirkman writes about the life of small-town Kentucky sheriff Rick after the world is stricken by a zombie apocalypse.
7. Batman: Hush (DC)
One of the best writers of Batman tales ever, Jeph Loeb, teamed up with one of the comic world's best artists, Jim Lee, to introduce a major mystery into the life of the world's greatest detective. Mixed in is just about every villain in Batman's gallery of rogues.
8. Civil War (Marvel)
Usually it's the superheroes against the supervillains, but when the government decides that all those with superpowers must register with the feds, it divides the superhero community. The good guys fight the other good guys in this epic tale.
9. Ultimates (Marvel)
Marvel realized that comic books weren't really for kids any more, so they went ahead and created a whole line of comics that were. They relaunched nearly every iconic character and team from Spider-Man to the Fantastic Four, and what followed was some of the best writing and action anyone had seen in years. 10. Blankets (Top Shelf)
Craig Thompson documents his own life in this touching memoir that includes his experiences with love, sex, siblings and spirituality. The book won a host of awards, including Harveys and Eisners (the Golden Globes and Oscars of the comic book world).
In a decade mostly dominated by big-time fictional series, including Harry Potter and “Twilight,” nonfictional essays had a big place, too.
David Sedaris wrote about his family and life in “Me Talk Pretty One Day,” “Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim” and “When You Are Engulfed in Flames.”
Chuck Klosterman wrote mostly about rock 'n' roll, pop culture and his own experiences with the people involved in his five essay and article collections since 2001's “Fargo Rock City.”