Romance on the Chopping Block?

 

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This morning I received an email, from my author’s group, informing us that Harlequin Romance is closing down five of their lines: Western, Superromance, Love Inspired Historical, Nocturne, and Kimani. Harlequin has not announced this yet, but several online sites are telling us it’s true. This leads me to wonder how the news ties in with so many imprints opening in Australia. Every time I run a search, for publishers who accept unsolicited manuscripts, several of the Big Five imprints pop up Down Under. I wonder if it’s a better market there, or their culture hasn’t hit the e-book craze yet?

I have read articles about people returning to bookstores, and even the manager of Barnes & Noble, at our book signing, said print was on the rise, but I have been skeptical. I saw only two to three women in the romance section, in the four hours I was there. Several women, that we chatted with at the event, said they hadn’t read a romance in years. I got the impression that romance was beneath them or something they had grown out of by their tone. I buy more books now that I am published, and I buy more print than previously, but most of my books are still downloaded.

I think the big problem is social media–the very thing that assists in the marketing of books. Netflix and Amazon produce so many shows, that with the little time people can read, they are watching TV, reading snippets on FB or Twittering. I have done it myself, sat down to read a book and got sidetracked by a Tweet. Maybe the real culprit is the cell phone. We can do almost anything from it, and it beacons us back to its illuminated, entrancing screen. I know my phone is never far from my itching fingers, even when I sleep.

I still enjoy books, and I loved seeing so many young people, in Barnes &Noble, the day of our book event. I do worry about the ever-growing technology changing reading habits forever. I’m not sure what Harlequin’s closings means to romance, but it could be a good thing. Maybe it’s a reorganization of the company’s structure.

Start writing screenplays everyone. I hear the attention span of the next generation is less than a minute! With that in mind, I hope I have distracted you with my one minute blog post on books and reading. Now get out there and read some romance! I recommend, Daisy Dukes ‘n Cowboy Boots!

 

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