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Books & the Economy

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

gs054026Last night, I was thrilled to be able to watch one of my former critique partners, Cindy Woodsmall, be interviewed by ABC’s Nightline about her bestselling women’s fiction novels!

While on that site, I saw a link to another story about books—about how romance novels are weathering this economy.

With Book Expo America coming up this weekend, I know there’ll be a lot of news stories in the next few days trying to gauge whether book sales will be up or down this year, so I thought I’d get the discussion going early. Here are some recent news stories about books and the economy—let the discussion begin!

Romance Novel Sales Up

Amid Economic Crisis, Book Industry Feeling Jitters

Worried book industry gathers for convention

Book publishers, R.I.P.?

Borders Sales Fall 12% in First Quarter

Books-A-Million Posts First-Quarter Gains

Sales Fall Less Than Expected at Barnes & Noble; Has Improved Outlook

The recession heats up romance novels

Christian fiction thrives during economic crisis (Not only was this article written for the paper where I worked for 10 years, one of my local group members was interviewed for it!)

(And yes, this means there are two posts you can comment on today so you can get an extra entry in for the contest!!!)

  1. Carman Boley permalink
    Wednesday, May 27, 2009 11:38 am

    That is so cool! It is funny that the romance genre is doing so well. You know what they say…Love can overcome any obstacle!


  2. Wednesday, May 27, 2009 11:40 am

    I think the entertainment industry in general is fairly recession-proof. I know that at least at the beginning of the year, the box-office was at a nearly all-time high.

    People just want a way to escape, and that’s what writer’s provide.


  3. Jess permalink
    Wednesday, May 27, 2009 2:01 pm

    Cheryl Hines was hilarious. It was pretty awesome to see the photo shoot for the romance covers. I guess I thought they were paintings or something.
    It’s funny that the guy was so handsome you’d do a double take if you saw him on the street, but the girl, while very attractive, was not jaw-droppingly gorgeous.
    I had no idea there were Christian vampire novels. Though we all should have seen it coming.


  4. Wednesday, May 27, 2009 2:14 pm

    Yes, and I’m particularly excited about this Christian vampire novel—because it’s written by one of my dearest writing friends, Tracey Bateman:


  5. Wednesday, May 27, 2009 2:40 pm

    Oh, my! I’m so thrilled that you saw Cindy on Nightline last night. I’m Cindy’s publicist for her new books, and we worked together to set up that interview. It was so much fun! The ABC producer was amazing, and I’m so very proud of Cindy. She was fantastic. If you didn’t get to see the segment, definitely check it out on

    In response to what Caleb said, I’m afraid I have to disagree. The entertainment industry as a whole is not weathering the storm unscathed. Romances are a bit of an anomoly right now. As a professional in the book biz, I can tell you that publishers are feeling the pinch. Many buisnesses in the industry have had layoffs. And a lot of fellow writers are having an unusually hard time getting their books picked up–rumor has it that it’s because some houses are having to cut their lists and publish fewer books.

    People do want to escape, but maybe they’re doing it at the library rather than the bookstore.


  6. Wednesday, May 27, 2009 2:48 pm

    There are certain parts of the entertainment industry that are up (movies, romance, fantasy, sci-fi—along with craft and how-to books) and others that are down (nonfiction, “serious” books, classics, etc).

    What I found most interesting in the second video clip is that while romance sales are up, when she talked to the librarian, it seemed that the number of romance novels being checked out is down. I wonder if that’s because more people are buying those and checking out the “serious” books or if it just seems like those numbers are down because they’ve remained steady while other genres’ numbers at the libraries have gone up?


  7. Renee permalink
    Wednesday, May 27, 2009 4:14 pm

    WHAT???!!!! Christian Vampire books…AWESOME! Tracey Bateman is one of my favorite authors so I’m sure this book will be terrific!

    As for the romance industry I think my family and I contribute to half of their sales 😀 I loved the whole ABC news thing…now I want to go out and find those cover models, anybody with me? 😉


  8. Wednesday, May 27, 2009 6:03 pm

    Found Cindy’s interview at ABC. Thanks for the alert. Great interview!

    And a Christian vampire novel. Well, I’ll have to check that out.


  9. Wednesday, May 27, 2009 7:24 pm

    Living in a world that is crazy, uncertain, and hateful…..Christian readers want to be reminded of a realm of faith, hope and love. Christian fiction offers that.

    The Christian network is so strong that consumers don’t mind buying books because they know their friend, mother, sister, daughter, neighbor will also read it, and then it will probably be donated somewhere ~ perhaps giving faith, hope and love to someone who may otherwise not read about God’s love and truth. Worth every red cent.


  10. Wednesday, May 27, 2009 8:36 pm

    It’s interesting, part of the SCBWI updates we get are about this editor being laid off and this house’s division closing or merging with another – so there have definitely been cut backs in the Children’s field, but I’m not sure how much they’ve affect sales. I think established authors are still selling books, but it’s a lot harder for the unpublished to really wow editors these days.


  11. Wednesday, May 27, 2009 9:51 pm

    Ohhhh, I’m very glad I write romance, ha! I agree with the other comments… books aren’t recession proof but human nature causes us to be “escapists.” Romance in particular usually promises a happy ending. People want that… they want a feel good, leave em’ on a high, kinda book.


  12. Thursday, May 28, 2009 6:17 am

    I agree with the “escaping” part of novels. Fiction is so much easier for me since it doesn’t require as much brain effort on my part! 🙂 Non-fiction has a difficult time around me!



  13. Leslie permalink
    Thursday, May 28, 2009 8:46 am

    Very interesting… I thought the headline about BAM was a bit odd – simply because my local store just cut back its hours. Used to be open until 11pm each night – its now 9pm every night.

    I think the houses are being more careful now because they don’t know what will happen. All the books coming out now have been contracted for a minimum of 1 year – all the work and labor has already been done and paid for (minus marketing and the actual paper its printed on).


  14. Thursday, May 28, 2009 11:33 pm

    Makes me glad I decided to focus on magazine writing this year. I’m sure subscriptions are WAY down, but the magazines that are still printing are still buying stories.


  15. Saturday, May 30, 2009 5:17 pm

    I live near a Half-Price Books (used book store chain) and make a visit at least every other week. It has always been packed, but even more so lately.


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