images.jpgAccording to the Mail Online:

New figures from market researchers Nielsen BookScan show digital sales of the genre have overtaken print copies for the first time – which the gadget users can read without anyone else knowing. …

According to Nielsen BookScan, just two per cent of all printed books sold in 2009 were romantic novels, compared with 14 per cent of all e-books sold.

Catherine Jones, from the Romantic Novelists’ Association, said people had preconceived ideas on the type of readers who enjoy romantic novels.

‘Women who read Mills and Boon are no more frustrated spinsters than crime-novel readers are mass murderers,’ she told The Times.

‘There’s an assumption about people who read and write these books that is misplaced. But once you have that mindset it’s difficult to overcome it. With e-readers, it’s ideal because no one can see what you’re reading.’

More info in the article


  1. The statistics on ‘romantic novels’ are interesting, I would like to know the actual Nielsen numbers though.
    Some broader results may be gained from the percentages given:
    – 2% of printed books < 14% of ebooks, therefore the total number of ebooks sold is more than 14.3% of the total number of printed books sold;
    – the total number of ebooks sold is now more than 12.3% of the total number of books sold (both printed and digital), which sounds high but possible.
    Of course this also assumes consistent classification of 'Romantic Novels' in both printed and ebook metadata, which is probably not a particularly safe assumption…

  2. I’m amused by the constant assumption that the reason romance ebook sales are up is exclusively because people don’t want to be seen reading romances. A major reason that I have personal familiarity with is that backlist books are being released as ebooks – if you find book 4 of a great series, you have a choice of haunting libraries and used book stores on the off-chance that you’ll find books 1-3, or, now, buying them in digital form.

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