Thursday, December 9, 2010

Genre Sales 2: Romance (Part 8 of 8)

Finally, mes auteurs, part 8 of 8: romance. Not that romance is the least important genre—far from it! As near as I can tell (based on the usual caveats of "I determined this via BookScan, personal experience, and anecdote, and if you lose money doing something you thought I told you to do, it's not my fault"), the romance genre is either flat or a little up year-on-year. Hooray!

It looks like paranormal romance is still leading the pack, though historical romance (particularly the ever-popular regency) and contemporary romance are still going strong. While there are sci-fi/fantasy-romance-type cross-genre titles making some money these days, they appear to be in the minority. We can't all be time travelers and/or their wives, cats & kittens.

Why is romance currently doing well? As usual, I have some ideas.

Romance does well in economic recessions. We all love happy endings, dear readers, and most romance titles end up well. The guy gets the girl (or the other guy); the girl gets the guy (or the other girl); we can relate to the emotions involved and the crazy lives the protagonists lead, and we want to end up as happy as they end up. It's human nature.

Escapism also does well in recessions. As I've mentioned before, fantastical stories of magic and wonder do well when the alternative is looking at the stark reality of your stock portfolio. This translates into increased romance title sales as paranormal romance continues to draw market share within the larger romance genre.

Ladies love romance, and most reader are ladies. A little stereotypical, but generally true—see yesterday's post.

Therefore, meine Autoren, in all's-well-that-ends-well Bullet-O-Vision™:

• Romance is doing all right. All right!

• Paranormal romance seems to be doing the all right-est, but don't get your vampire on just yet: historical and contemporary romance are also doing well.

• This is probably because happy endings (general romance) and overall escapism (general romance and fantasy) are attractive genres during economic downturns.

• I hadn't mentioned this previously, but if you're worried about e-book sales, despair not! Romance titles seem to be doing particularly well (chiefly, à mon avis, due to the brand loyalty exhibited especially strongly by romance readers), and there's no reason to think this trend won't continue into the future.

That's the end of our two-week-long genre sales breakdown extravaganza, mes auteurs. Praise, vitriol, and theories (conspiracy or otherwise) are welcome in the comments!


  1. Merci beaucoup for the wonderful analysis!

  2. Still no chance of a few words on non-romance historicals?

  3. I would have to agree. I own a Nook, my son owns a Kindle, my own Regency Romance is available as an ebook on both Amazon and Barnes & Noble...and--except for the luxury of being able to increase the print size at will...and read one handed--I still prefer a hardcover to a paperback and a paperback to an ebook.

  4. Very interesting that romance does so well. I'm in the Christian market and it does phenomenal there as well, although its not regency, but 'bonnet books' that sell like hot cakes. Great analysis.
    Edge of Your Seat Romance