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e-Book Anonymity Boosts Romance Novel Sales

romance novel on nook colorRomance novels are enjoying a renaissance, largely thanks to the discreet power of the e-book reader. The tawdry books have always been popular among female readers, but many of the more self-conscious readers out there would be too embarrassed to read the books in public, in part due to their bodice-ripping covers, bearing long-locked Fabio clones and breathless damsels. But, since e-readers don't broadcast the cover of the book you're reading, commuters are free to read whatever they wish without worrying about a fellow traveler casting a judgmental glance.

Romance novels are now the fastest growing category of e-books. Barnes and Noble chief executive William Lynch told the New York Times that, until recently, the store was but a minor player in the romance novel market. Thanks to the success of the NOOK, though, the company now commands 25-percent of the market. The store has even launched a dedicated "romance shop" for the NOOK Color. Dominique Raccah, the chief executive of the independent publisher, Sourcebooks, told the Times that at the beginning of the year, only 8-percent of the company's romance novel sales were e-books. By the third quarter, that number had skyrocketed to 27-percent -- a shocking number when you consider that e-book sales only account for around 10-percent of total book sales nationwide.

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