Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

Monday News: Tablet sales decline, more self-publishing data scraping, Goodreads looks...

The study forecasts that in 2014 the year-on-year growth rate of tablet PC sales — once a primary growth driver for the smart device market, especially after the iPad debuted in 2010 — will fall 14%, a revised estimate that docked NPD’s original predicted growth rate by 3%. By 2017, the rate will slow to single digits. –Time

As an author, I was curious about the exact numbers of independent titles in certain genres. So, after scraping some eBook metadata from Amazon and Barnes & Noble, I compiled some interesting figures which reflect the trends of self-publishing over the last few months –I Hate The Sounds Around Me

The top five most abandoned contemporary books included J. K. Rowling’s “The Casual Vacancy,” “Fifty Shades of Grey,” and “Eat Pray Love.” “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and “Wicked” were also frequently discarded.

And when it came to the most frequently started but unfinished books ever, they were all classics: “Catch-22,” “The Lord of the Rings,” “James Joyce’s Ulysses,” “Moby Dick,” and “Atlas Shrugged” were the five least-finished books. –Business Insider

To help you discover all the different possibilities within the genre of romance, we have put together this Romance Genres Check List. It breaks romance into smaller subgenres such as contemporary, historical and paranormal — and then breaks those categories down even further so you can check them off as you read. Make your own goal for the summer such as reading every subgenre of historical romance. That alone will take you from hunky highlanders to roguish dukes and Wild West gun slingers. Or give your taste buds even more to try by reading at least one from every one of the more general categories. Better yet, go whole hog and check off every box on the list. –Shelf Talk

isn't sure if she's an average Romance reader, or even an average reader, but a reader she is, enjoying everything from literary fiction to philosophy to history to poetry. Historical Romance was her first love within the genre, but she's fickle and easily seduced by the promise of a good read. She approaches every book with the same hope: that she will be filled from the inside out with something awesome that she didnʼt know, didnʼt think about, or didnʼt feel until that moment. And she's always looking for the next mind-blowing read, so feel free to share any suggestions!


  1. Laura Jardine
    Jul 14, 2014 @ 07:21:57

    Of the ten books listed that people often give up…I’ve started three of them. I think I liked Catch-22, but can’t remember it very well. I read Wicked several years ago, hoping for a fun, light read (since, you know, it was a Broadway musical!), but…uhh…no. It was a slog. I finished it anyway. Pretty sure I gave up LOTR halfway through the second book, but that was a loooong time ago. I can’t remember the last book I didn’t finish. I pretty much finish everything, no matter how much I hate it.

    And I will never not finish Ulysses because I have no intention of ever starting that one. My boyfriend recently lost three months of his life reading that book…Does not sound like fun at all.

  2. Lostshadows
    Jul 14, 2014 @ 07:58:21

    As someone who loves LotR, I am totally not surprised it tops that list. The pacing is atrocious.

  3. Mary
    Jul 14, 2014 @ 08:18:31

    Wicked is a great book, but it is mostly a philosophical musing on the nature of evil, so I’m not surprised that people don’t finish it, especially fans of the musical.
    Also Casual Vacancy is great, but I can see people who are just reading it because it is JK Rowling quitting.
    I couldn’t get past page 10 of LOTR. Also I feel like Wuthering Heights should be on that list, I know only one person who could finish it.
    I hope this comment doesn’t sound snobby!

  4. PeggyL
    Jul 14, 2014 @ 08:21:10

    I never understood Samsung’s marketing strategy (if there’s one). I bought the new Tab PRO 8.4 not two months ago and now the even newer Galaxy Tab S series, which includes a 8.4 model of course, is in the market. This is exactly what marketers would call: cannibalization. So if Samsung loses sales, it’s deserving justice.

  5. Liz H.
    Jul 14, 2014 @ 09:13:52

    Hmmm, I started and discarded all 5 of the contemporaries, but of the “classics” I only discarded Atlas Shrugged (with force, into the wall), and that’s not because I loved Ulysses or Moby Dick. However I felt obligated to finish them, not really sure why; in order to have the knowledge or to be able to say I had?… something to reconsider the next time I take one up, although I am enjoying Sherlock Holmes.

    I like the idea of the Seattle program, we’ll see what they come up with. I’d love to see an update of the DA top 100, or a top 20 for each romance sub-genre? I found the last one quite interesting, especially with the comments, and am curious how it may have changed with time and/or the new reviewers.

  6. SAO
    Jul 14, 2014 @ 09:18:26

    Looking at the popular books that got abandoned, they often aren’t the best contemporary book of the genre. Casual Vacancy was readable and okay, but an outstanding mystery? Nope. 50 Shades speaks for itself. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo had a lot of gratuitous sexual violence and odd sexual politics.

    But these are the books that get recommended by Amazon and other recommendation machines over and over. I can’t say how often 50 Shades has been recommended to me, and I’m sure I wouldn’t like it, even if it was well-written.

  7. Sirius
    Jul 14, 2014 @ 11:32:51

    I finished “Ulysses”. Yes, because I wanted to be proud of myself lol. Would I ever read anything by James Joyce again? No, not really. I love LOTR with a passion and reread it periodically., but yes, not surprised that people may not finish it. I thought “The girl with dragon tatoo” was compulsively readable, so that’s probably my biggest surprise.

    I was actually warned that “Wicked” is very different from the musical, so I have not even tried starting it since I loved the musical so much.

  8. Sunita
    Jul 14, 2014 @ 11:48:43

    I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the abandoned books are either difficult to read (most of the classics mentioned here) or widely talked-about bestsellers. Given how few books a year the average person reads, it makes sense that someone might buy a book they’ve heard a lot about and then give up on it. They’re not buying it because it appeals to their reading tastes, they’re buying it because it’s a topic of conversation. Even a well-written book or a compulsively readable one isn’t going to work for a lot of those readers.

    It’s another example of how power readers really are a different breed from the average reader. We read blogs and review sites, we talk about books with other power readers, we take care to select books that we think are likely to appeal to us, and we still DNF (or at least I do). Imagine if our choices were essentially random or not geared toward our particular reading tastes, how many books we’d give up on.

  9. Jayne
    Jul 14, 2014 @ 12:10:06

    I managed to finish “Eat, Pray, Love” but good Lord it was a slog. I had to take it in pieces or I would never have been able to do it.

  10. cleo
    Jul 14, 2014 @ 12:35:19

    @Sunita – good point about power readers and non-power readers. I’m pretty picky about what I pick up to read and I feel like I DNF a lot.

    Of the books listed, I’ve read one (Eat, Pray, Love) and attempted one (LotR – 3 attempts, iirc) and passed on all the others because they’re not to my taste or didn’t appeal for some reason.

    I think run-away bestsellers can suffer from their hype. I know I’m harder on something if I go in expecting it to be amazing. I picked up EPL on a whim, because I enjoy spiritual journey type memoirs, and I had no idea that it was a cultural phenomenon. I think I would have been much more skeptical if I’d picked it up expecting it to change my life, or whatever the hype was.

  11. K.L.
    Jul 14, 2014 @ 13:22:14

    If I hadn’t had to read Ulysses for a college class I don’t think I would have finished it – as it was I can remember rushing through some of (what I thought were) the more dull parts. But honestly I do think that was the best way to read it, so that I could sit around the table with other students and gripe about it as well as pick it apart to see what it was all about. It’s one of those books that I classify as Books for Groups Discussion, because I think that’s where I’d get more out of them – those sort of books are usually all about writing style, the author trying to attempt Something Very Different, and there’s some history around the book that makes it a classic or “of its time.” And for those reasons those kind of books are not easy going, especially if the author’s style isn’t one you enjoy. So good for an class assigned book, but not something I’d feel my life was missing if I’d not read it.

    I still mean to finish LOTR – I was given the box set in 6th grade after my teacher started reading us the Hobbit in class, and I wanted to know what happened without waiting. My problem at that age was that I expected the rest of LOTR to be like the Hobbit, and nope, it was notvery disappointing. Someday I’ll get around to finishing it though, especially since I still feel guilt over not finishing the books while I did sit through all those hours of the films (and enjoyed them).

  12. K.L.
    Jul 14, 2014 @ 13:23:58

    @K.L.: Oops, that should be: nope, it was not – which was very disappointing.

  13. Susan
    Jul 14, 2014 @ 14:41:09

    I read a lot of classics (including those on the list) because I had to, but I still enjoyed most of them, at least to an extent. Two that I fervently despised were Ulysses and One Hundred Years of Solitude. I still shudder at the thought of them.

    On the contemporary list, I started and abandoned three. There was a time when I absolutely never abandoned a book no matter what. But, as I’ve gotten older, a gift I’ve given myself is permission to not finish books (or other things) I don’t enjoy. I hate being a quitter, but life is getting too short to spend time on things that don’t make me happy.

  14. MaryK
    Jul 14, 2014 @ 16:15:33

    We’ve lost the subscribe without commenting option. Is that intentional?

  15. Mary
    Jul 14, 2014 @ 21:27:33

    I love love love the musical, but I also love love love the book. They are just very different entities. Without spoilers, the musical is much more cheerful and has less of a political bent than the book.

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