Hard times and happy endings

Sales of romance novels are keeping publishers afloat

Like the Depression-era readers who fueled blockbuster sales of Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind, today’s readers are looking for an escape from the grim realities of layoffs, foreclosures and shrinking portfolios. “Given the general dismay and gloominess,” said Jennifer Lampe, a lawyer in Des Moines and avid romance reader who runs a book blog under the pseudonym Jane Litte at, “reading something like a romance with a happy ending is really kind of a relief.” An extra bonus for publishers is that it takes a lot for romance devotees to cut back. They are considered among the most loyal fans, sticking to a series or an author once they have grown attached to one. “It’s a very dedicated audience who doesn’t see it as a luxury as much as a necessity,” said Liate Stehlik, a HarperCollins publisher.

New York Times

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