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Literary Segregation or Market Specialization?

Borders, who financially might be on its last legs, is not going down without a fight. It opened a new store a few weeks ago and is now launching a new Latina book club (does the Latina instead Latino mean that the book club is just for women?)

Does this mean that there will be a Latina section in the Borders store like there is an African American section? Are Latina authors happy about the specialized market segmentation? Will Julie Leto’s great “Dirty” series be reprinted to be sold to the new Latina book club? So many questions.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

4 Comments

  1. Corrine
    May 08, 2008 @ 11:24:53

    For those involved in the RWA, the most recent Romance Writers Reports had an interesting article about the segregation of fiction. It’s worth a read if you can get your hands on a copy.

    Working in library services, I know of several large libraries nationwide that separate African American fiction from general fiction, so it’s not just booksellers that are doing this.

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  2. Beverly
    May 08, 2008 @ 16:33:33

    I work in libraries too, and at a recent workshop we had a discussion about this topic. We don’t separate based on race at our library, but apparently many libraries do feel pressure from their patrons to do just that. I understand the desire to find items that are of interest quickly and easily, but I think segregating books based on race is a step in the wrong direction. I would fight very strongly against doing it in our library. One of our core goals (as a library) is to help people broaden their horizons. That can’t be done if we separate books out for such politically or socially expedient reasons.

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  3. Angela
    May 09, 2008 @ 04:15:15

    Warner tried a “Latina/Chicana” imprint a while back and it failed. The trouble I have with this is that “Latina” isn’t as concrete a label as “African-American” because “Latino/as” can come in all sort of shapes, shades and backgrounds, and popular American culture only associates that label with brown people. Not to mention the fact that many Latin American cultures have many more labels for the different ethnicities they possess within their culture, and American labeling is confining, restrictive and ignorant. Would a White Columbian, Japanese Brazilian, and Afro-Cuban be included in this book club, or any section of a book store or imprint publishers try to create? Or will they continue to associate Latina with Mexican or Puerto Rican women?

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    Nov 24, 2010 @ 09:16:00

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