Young Bill Young here.
Love makes the world go around. No one knows that better than the authors and readers of Romance, one of the most popular genres of fiction. In fact, Romance is the king of the publishing world right now, outstripping sales of most other categories of books in this uncertain economy.
Many Oklahoma writers are riding this wave of success in the Romance field, and librarians and readers enjoyed a chance to meet nine of these authors at Romance in the Stacks last Thursday at Hardesty Regional Library. The event was sponsored by the Oklahoma Center for the Book.
Tulsa authors participating were Laura Marie Altom, Margaret Daley, Peggy Fielding, Jackie King, Vickie McDonough and Susan Shay. Jaci Burton of Claremore, and Jordan Dane and Malena Lott of Edmond were also on hand.
These are just a handful of the many Romance writers who call Oklahoma home. We’re lucky to have so many talented Romance scribes in the state, and Oklahoma and the rest of the nation is also blessed to have so many Romance readers. According to a New York Times article: Nielsen Bookscan, which tracks retail sales, says Romance sales were up seven percent in 2008, while most of adult fiction remained flat. Barnes and Noble, the country’s largest book chain, expects book sales to fall between four to six percent this year, but Romance sales are up.
InfoTrends, Inc. reports that 74.8 million people read at least one Romance novel in 2008, and that there is a core market of 29 million regular readers of the genre. In addition, the percent of Americans who read Romance has increased from 21.8 percent in 2005 to 24.6 percent in 2008.
The continuing and growing popularity of Romance plays out everyday in libraries according to Hardesty Regional Manager Louix Escobar-Matute. “I would estimate that one out of every three fiction books checked out at this library is a Romance novel,” Escobar-Matute said.
The fact that there are so many writers, and so many different types of Romance stories, means there are always plenty of titles to recommend to people who like a particular style or setting, Escobar-Matute said. That keeps readers coming back for more.
The genre ranges from inspirational Christian Romance, to steamy tomes, and everything in between. Settings range from the Wild West, to modern day suburbia, to historical scenes, to science fiction and fantasy worlds.
But the cental element of all of these books is the universal story of romantic love. Afterall, who doesn’t love a happy ending?