Want to sell a book? Try a little romance

There are plenty of people feeling anxious about the book industry these days (if you doubt it, just take a look at the New York Times's report on BookExpo America 2009, currently taking place in NY), but not romance writers. For them, it just keeps getting better.

Sales of books in other categories are declining, but romance novels are thriving.  "Especially when business is bad or business is down, people want to escape a little bit," Laurie Parkin, vice president and publisher of Kensington Publishing Corp, told the Associated Press.

According to the AP, Kensington has seen a 5 percent increase in sales for mass market paperback romances for its fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, while Harlequin Enterprises Ltd., a global giant in the romance field, reported 4th-quarter earnings up 32 percent over the same period a year earlier.

According to Nielsen BookScan, for the week of May 10, 2009, romance book sales overall were up nearly 2.4 percent compared with the same week last year, although travel books, detective/mystery books, and self-help titles all showed declines in sales over the same period.

For woman especially, it appears that engagement with a romance novel offers an escape from the worries of daily life. Also, points out best-selling author Janet Evanovich,  the protagonists of romance novels are often "quirky, vibrant women" who "are able to overcome crises in their lives."

"It's my connection to the world and I can visit other places and be somebody else — for just a little while," one reader told the AP.

of 5 stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read 5 of 5 free stories

Only $1 for your first month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.