My work bestie and I were talking books in our office kitchen this week. We were overheard by a female co-worker who asked us what kind of kitsch we are reading. I was a little angry – it’s a weird attitude, probably from somebody who’s never tried a really good romance novel.

Today there is still that weird notion that romance novels are trashy or trivial. That they don’t deal with real issues and are cheesy. This week this video landed in my inbox. These authors explain exactly why I read the genre and all its sub genres.

Video source: Penguin Random House

There is nothing trivial about high quality romance. We get characters from all kind of backgrounds with their individual issues that are more realistic and relatable than any suspense, fantasy or horror novel can ever hope to be yet conservative media keeps trying to marginalize romance.

According to RWA romance novels shared 34% of the US fiction market in 2015. That’s a huge junk out of total sales.

Here are some more numbers:

  • Estimated annual total sales value of romance in 2013: $1.08 billion (source: BookStats)
  • Who is the romance book buyer? (source: Nielsen Books & Consumer Tracker)
    • Female: 84%
    • Male: 16%
  • Age of the romance book buyer: 30–44 years old (source: Nielsen Books & Consumers 2015)

Source: Romance Writers of America

Given that indie authors sprout like mushrooms there is a good chance that these numbers have changed already.

I rest my case.

I want a good story to take me away from real world, to let me dream and inspire me. That’s all I really expect from a book and it’s what romance gives me.

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  • I hope this doesn’t mean you are putting down other genres? I love romance but horror/thrillers are still my favorite. But, there is nothing like a good romance. OMG, I am in that age bracket… — Feels so O.L.D. —

    Great post!
    Romance is one of the best genres ever.


    • Haha no! I enjoy fantasy, thrillers and suspense (horror not so much). Romance is my preference.
      This video was sent to me by Penguin this week and it reminded me again of my co-worker’s comment…so it kind of started off my rant lol

      Don’t worry, you’re not old. I’m not old and I’m already out of that age bracket >.<

  • I LOVE a great romance novel! I totally agree with you that it is a great way to take a break from reality. Not everything we read has to be thought-provoking and intense. I have actually read a few contemporaries that touch on lots of hot topics. 🙂

    • Exactly! And not every romance novel is light and forgettable. I think the motto for books is like with everything in life. A little tolerance goes a long way!

  • I agree with ya sistah! I have friends who are mystery and dystopian lovers, and god the looks they give me when I rant about MY favorite books. You don’t see me judging them for reading YA. *cue eyeroll*

  • I think what gives romance a bad rap are the cheap, tropey novels. Of course, that exists in pretty much every genre – but for some reason, the romance ones are more noticeable. And thinking of them as ‘lowly’ is kind of Victorian thinking. Because back then ‘novels’ were what only women read. And what women read can’t be serious, right! And it’s ugly if that’s where it comes from :/

    That’s cool though that men read romance too! I was surprised to see the 16%. The general idea is that they don’t read it at all (although, to be honest, not a lot of men read anything, it seems…)

    What I don’t like in *some* romance is that it makes women into damsels. Or that finding a guy is the main thing. Or those horrible novels that have titles like “Pounded”? I mean, ugh, that’s not empowering. That is objectifying. That makes me feel belittled :/ But in the end, that is not the majority of romance novels. That exists in every genre… And I wish there was less of that everywhere. I also really hate some of the tropes, especially ones that promote bad relationships. But again, that’s something that happens in every genre.

    Anyway, I loved the video 🙂 thanks for sharing.

    • Thank you so much for this, Evelina. I agree – some are trashy. Maybe also because some authors just are out for the quick buck and don’t really care about content. But as you say, that goes for every genre. And I also agree that some titles don’t really sound all that good (everything with virgin in the title is an automatic side-eye from me).

      Pretty sure that a lot of men would enjoy romance if they tried. There are even some really great male authors out there who write MF romance so the market for them is actually there.

      Thank you so much, Evelina. Loved your comment.

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