Romance Novels Sales High Even During Recession
In a recession, what people want is a happy ending.
At a time when booksellers are struggling to lure readers, sales of romance novels are outstripping most other categories of books and giving some buoyancy to an otherwise sluggish market.Like the Depression-era readers who fueled blockbuster sales of Margaret Mitchell’s “Gone With the Wind,” today’s readers are looking for an escape from the grim realities of layoffs, foreclosures and shrinking 401(k) balances.
Such escapist urges are also fueling sales of science fiction and fantasy, said Bob Wietrak, a vice president for merchandising at Barnes & Noble. Mr. Wietrak said sales of novels with vampires, shape shifters, werewolves and other paranormal creatures were “exploding,” whether they were found in the romance, fantasy or young-adult aisles, where Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series continues to dominate and inspire look-alike books like the House of Night teen novels by P. C. Cast and Kristin Cast.Romance novels have also captured a larger proportion of the electronic book market than other categories. Whereas most publishers say that about 1 percent of sales come from e-books, Harlequin says that digital editions make up about 3.4 percent of its sales.
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