I love independent book stores. I hate that independents have a thing about romance.
“Our customers don’t read romance,” they say.
Even down 11% from the previous, romance readers bought 30,885 thousand copies in 2014, higher than any other Adult Fiction category except General Fiction which sold 36,314 thousand copies according to Publisher’s Weekly. I’m not sure who independent bookstores think is buying all those books.
I’ve heard owners of independent bookstores complain about the Amazon behemoth, and it’s true. We all need to fight to keep our indies alive. Patronize them when you can. In fact, if I need a new C.J. Box, or James Lee Burke thriller, my local is my go to place. But they don’t supply me with the books I buy most–romance.
One more wonderful thing about our local indies, they are great about supporting local authors, and carry my books (all romance) on their shelves–under General Fiction.
My husband and I travel a lot, and whenever we’re in a new place, we hit up any bookstore we see–usually independents. Often I’ll try to pick up a local author or new release. If I’m in the mood for a romance, however, I’m bound to be frustrated.
Fortunately, some of that is changing. In her marvelous post on the same subject, Sarah MacLean provides a strategy to help our local bookstores, as well as books selections, to help them understand that their misunderstanding about romance is costing them money. It’s up to each of us who are dedicated romance readers to have these facts and suggestions at hand whenever we walk into an indie looking for love.
The Huffington Post had another great article last year debugging myths about romance readers. Not only do some men read romance (I’ve seen them at conferences–brave souls!), but readers don’t conform to the sad picture people paint about us. That attitude is a remnant of the patriarchal viewpoint, where anything a woman does is de facto worth less than a man’s work or leisure activity.
Women who read romance are smart, educated, from all parts of the country, working, often have love in their lives, and deal with reality with both feet on the ground (which is more than we could say about some politicians these days).
I hope to see you, my fellow romance reader, in our local independent bookstores soon!