Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue

12/09/2010

Romance is Alive and Well! And Serious E-Book Business


Well, poke me in the eye with a creamy, firm, bodacious boobie! I’m surprised (but not too much, really) to learn that lusty, bawdy romance is the fastest growing genre in ebook sales. I would think that thrillers, mysteries and adventures would do better; I must be getting old in my old age!

This proves that the younger generation can read and is reading a lot more in the digital age. According to reports, more are buying sexy ebooks now because they are not given away by the sexy covers of their print cousins.

It’s nice to know that we do not have to worry about the propagation of the human species.

Julie Bosman of The New York Times has this to say:

Lusty Tales and Hot Sales: Romance E-Books Thrive

Sarah Wendell, blogger and co-author of “Beyond Heaving Bosoms,” is passionate about romance novels.

Except for the covers, with their images of sinewy limbs, flowing, Fabio-esque locks or, as she put it, “the mullets and the man chests.”

“They are not always something that you are comfortable holding in your hand in public,” Ms. Wendell said.

So she began reading e-books, escaping the glances and the imagined snickers from strangers on the subway, and joining the many readers who have traded the racy covers of romance novels for the discretion of digital books.

If the e-reader is the digital equivalent of the brown-paper wrapper, the romance reader is a little like the Asian carp: insatiable and unstoppable. Together, it turns out, they are a perfect couple. Romance is now the fastest-growing segment of the e-reading market, ahead of general fiction, mystery and science fiction, according to data from Bowker, a research organization for the publishing industry.

Publishers and retailers, spying an opportunity, have begun pursuing in earnest those enthusiastic romance readers who have abandoned print for digital.

“Romance,” said Matthew Shear, the executive vice president and publisher of St. Martin’s Press, which releases 40 to 50 romance novels each year, is “becoming as popular in e-books as it is in the print editions.”

When “Maybe This Time,” a lighthearted ghost romance by the best-selling author Jennifer Crusie, went on sale in August, it sold as many e-books as hardcover books in its first week, Mr. Shear said, a phenomenon that he began noticing this summer with other romance titles.

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