Last week I wondered on Twitter if the recession would hurt the book market. It doesn’t look like it will hurt the romance book market. One twitterer pointed out that movies did great during the Great Depression and apparently it was during that time that the Harlequin imprint really took off.
And if Somerville sounds less worried than many about the hard economic times ahead, perhaps that’s not surprising: it was during the Depression of the Twenties and Thirties that the imprint really took off. “People wanted to escape the hardship of the depression and general strikes,” she explains. “What women wanted, and what we could make money out of, was light fiction. They concentrated on ramping up the light fiction of the time, and the growth of the lending libraries in the Thirties was a great conduit for romantic fiction.”
Is light fiction just romance fiction in general or is it light hearted? In any event, the poll question I have is whether these darker economic times will increase the demand for frothier or funnier romance fiction.