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

Wednesday News: Posner lays down the law for the Conan Doyle...

In a ruling issued Monday in Chicago, U.S. Circuit Judge Richard Posner ordered the Doyle estate to pay $30,679.93 in legal fees to Leslie Klinger, an author and editor who crushed the estate’s demands for licensing fees on a Sherlock Holmes anthology composed of stories written before 1923. –Gigaom

Say what you will about romance novels (bodice-rippers, Fabio covers and all), it’s hard to deny that some of the most exciting entrepreneurs in the U.S. today aren’t hoodie-wearing app developers — they’re women writing books for women and making millions in the process. –Yahoo News

For any bad reviews that do make it online, the innkeepers aggressively post “mean spirited nonsense,” and “she made all of this up.”

In response to a review complaining of rude treatment over a bucket of ice, the proprietors shot back: “I know you guys wanted to hang out and get drunk for 2 days and that is fine. I was really really sorry that you showed up in the summer when it was 105 degrees .?.?. I was so so so sorry that our ice maker and fridge were not working and not accessible. –Page Six

In the context of medieval illuminated manuscripts, the kinds of images that occur in the margins are pretty astonishing. Although there were recurrent themes and symbols, the artists seem to be less constrained by traditional sacred imagery. Think, for example, of how the image of the Crucifixion or the Last Supper became iconic, as the same composition and visual cues were repeated over and over. Imagination is allowed much freer rein in the margins of a book; it’s allowed to run amok. So monsters or human-monster hybrids, animals behaving as humans, and fart jokes were all fair game. –Collectors Weekly

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!

13 Comments

  1. Laura Jardine
    Aug 06, 2014 @ 07:37:16

    40% ebooks, 32% paperback…So the other 28% is what? Hardcover? That doesn’t seem right for romance…
    Or am I reading this wrong?

  2. Janet
    Aug 06, 2014 @ 07:43:35

    It boggles the mind why anyone would have a wedding at such an unprofessional venue.

  3. Sunita
    Aug 06, 2014 @ 09:46:49

    @Laura Jardine: I wondered about that too. It probably includes audiobooks as well, but that’s still a really high number. If you look at RWA’s reader statistics, which also use Nielsen, they show that while romance readers buy ebooks in higher volume, they still read print far more often, at a 2-1 rate. And that’s in a survey of online-only readers, so if you included “offline” readers the numbers would probably be tilted even further in favor of print.

    I’m not disputing that romance readers are more likely to read ebooks than other readers, but I don’t think it’s as skewed toward ebooks in terms of individual readers as the story suggests. But since all the data are proprietary we can’t know for sure, we can only guess based on the numbers that they share with us.

  4. hapax
    Aug 06, 2014 @ 13:05:45

    Well, when I purchase romance books for the library, I always get hardback if I can but I usually end up buying in trade paperback. Large print romance (even categories) is usually purchased as hardback as well.

    Of course, libraries don’t make up a huge share of the purchasing market (it varies across genres), but that might be skewing the numbers a bit.

  5. Evangeline Holland
    Aug 06, 2014 @ 14:42:07

    @Sunita: There are lots of readers now who read romance and don’t self-identify as romance readers. They are the ones helping to drive romance ebook sales up to that 40%. They might buy print versions of their favorite authors, but ebooks allow them to indulge without the “romance reader” label (which is still stigmatized–look at the media coverage of Outlander).

  6. Sunita
    Aug 06, 2014 @ 15:02:38

    @Evangeline Holland: True, but both RWA and the Yahoo article are using the same dataset, which is the Nielsen numbers from spring 2014. RWA and I are both inferring behavior of individual readers, but the book buying numbers should be more or less the same. I’m clearly missing some transformation that’s being performed.

  7. AlexaB
    Aug 06, 2014 @ 15:27:37

    @Sunita:
    It looks like the reporter took the numbers from here: http://www.rwa.org/p/cm/ld/fid=580

    So when the reporter refers to “paperback,” she means mass market only. Another 18% comes from trade paperback sales, and hardcover accounts for 9%. Audio and “other” each represent 1% each.

    Which means that print formats account for 59% of the romance market, compared to 39% for ebooks.

  8. Sunita
    Aug 06, 2014 @ 15:43:17

    @AlexaB: Ah, thank you! I was stuck on the reader statistics page and didn’t click on the industry statistics page. 60/40 seems a lot more in line with what we’d expect than ebooks outpacing print, even among internet-visiting readers.

    My guess is that ebook-preferring romance readers buy and read more ebook releases. Probably because they are buying novellas and shorts, whereas print readers are buying novels and anthologies.

    And I see that RWA has completely stopped giving the average age of romance readers. Probably because that number is going up and they don’t want to highlight it. The last round of statistics broke down print v. ebook reader ages, with print being 49 and ebook being 42. Both are still higher than the median age of the US female population.

    ETA: I *think* it was 49/42; I didn’t clip the page and the data have been updated.

  9. Laura Jardine
    Aug 06, 2014 @ 16:46:05

    @AlexaB: Ah, that makes sense now. Thanks.

  10. Janine
    Aug 06, 2014 @ 23:04:19

    Do you think the hotel could successfully be sued for those fines? They’re insane.

  11. Robin/Janet
    Aug 07, 2014 @ 00:37:22

    @Sunita: You may very well be right about RWA’s refusal to provide an average age of Romance readers, although I have to tell you that I distrust RWA’s representation of readers in general, because I think they are not including a lot of younger, newer readers who may not identify as Romance readers, but who are, in fact, reading in the genre, likely in New Adult, YA/Rom, and Erotic categories. These may not be traditional genre readers, which are the readers RWA has tended to acknowledge and embrace, but I think they’re indicative of the way self-publishing and digital publishing/ebooks are reshaping the market, along with the immense popularity of books like 50 Shades.

  12. Sunita
    Aug 07, 2014 @ 08:40:17

    @Robin/Janet: I’m just going by the way readership age has been reported by RWA over the last decade or so. They used to give an average age, then they broke it down into ebook v. print readers’ ages, and now they’re only reporting a fairly wide age range.

    As for newer readers, they should be captured in the data because this is a romance-specific re-survey of Nielsen’s overall book consumer survey. RWA commissioned the re-survey but Nielsen carries it out.They start with people who read romances, then they go back and ask a sub-sample of that group about romance reading/buying habits that weren’t asked in the first round.

    Their results seem to confirm your beliefs about younger readers: When broken down by age, a majority of older readers buy mysteries, and younger readers buy YA and erotic fiction. And New Adult is well represented among readers, with considerably more reading it than read Christian romance, for example, and about the same number as read PNR.

    Their findings are consistent with (previous) studies of mystery readers, who tend to be an older readership than romance readers. Whatever RWA is doing in its own policies (and I think the narrowing of romance genre in terms of awards, chapters, contest rules, etc. is not a good idea), the survey operates on a different metric.

    ETA: Thinking more about your comment, the re-survey will not include people who say they have not bought *any* romances but who have bought YA and erotic fiction. But my guess is that there are fewer of those readers than readers who read/buy romances *and* YA, erotic, and other not-strictly-romance books.

  13. Robin/Janet
    Aug 07, 2014 @ 12:23:34

    @Sunita: I understand what you’re saying, Sunita; I think my wariness has more to do with how RWA or Nielsen is defining Romance reader, and whether that definition is still in line with how people read the genre. For example, when you think of 50, and a lot of the books that have capitalized off of it, they are basically repackaged HPs, but are not necessarily marketed that way. There is also, I think, more hybridity in the way some readers are engaging with the genre, and so perhaps the whole idea of the ‘traditional Romance reader’ isn’t even valid anymore. I’m not sure how much thought has even gone into the idea that the way readers engage with different genres may be evolving, and that we need to start re-thinking some of our previous assumptions and conceptual frameworks.

    Then there’s the question of how digital and indie books are shaping the idea of a dedicated Romance readership, not to mention all of the questions around how any of these numbers are being measured (not in terms of statistical methodology so much as all the numbers you see being quoted and re-quoted and used as the basis for various arguments about the success of indie publishing and ebook adoption, etc.).

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