Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss

My visit to the mall book store…Erotica is BIGGER than Series Romance

December 13, 2006

Yes, I went to the mall yesterday — after all it was 40% off day and I do have holiday shopping to do! And being a reader, the best gift to give is books! Because what I want to get is books so I always figured you give what you’d like to get! But I digress…

Visited the Waldenbooks, still Waldenbooks not yet converted to the Borders Express which I am anxious to visit when they finish the changeover. The only store in the area that went through the transformation is not in a “friendly” mall *grin* Unfortunately, they didn’t have any of my top four choices — can it be THAT hard to find the John Hodgeman book — but I did find a cookbook that I’d never buy at normal price so the trip was not a loss. And I did a bit of research. Visiting the romance, mystery, fiction and science fiction/fantasy section.

My impressions for any of you marketing gurus out there. The romance section has evolved. It is now the catch all for every other genre. Yes, I know romance readers go across the lines, democratic in their reading and all that, but honestly, they had everything except cooking books in there! At least it was big, I will give them bonus points for size and ease of location — right behind the magazines as you walk in from the mall! Lots of end caps with intriguing topics: holiday books, Christmas Christian books (aka inspirational), vampires (what’s a self-respecting store these days without at least ONE vampire section), and erotica. Woo, the erotica! Maybe I’m getting old but the last time I visited the erotica was on bottom shelves in the back of the section. No more! Now it has two complete cases, floor to to top and the series romance are relegated to the back of the section on half of a case. AND shelved sideways to look like they have more selection than they actually do.

Yes, Yes, I read the industry reports and know the closing of lines and the continued loss of market but wow, this is like telling me in plain words. The series at one time were stuffed into a complete row — toe to ceiling — with their covers shouting out babies, cowboys, arrogant sheikhs and executives, soldiers and lost desperate women. Not now, they have a smattering of each but it is sorta like a lame attempt to keep up appearances. I’m also supposing that H/S pays for shelf space. I know my usual shopping places — Target, B&N, Borders — have reduced or eliminated the series section but I was really surprised to see the mall store do the same.

And on to the mystery section….it was almost a repeat of the romance. The titles were the same, so much I was confused as to where I was. Was this romance? Or possibly fantasy? Lots of urban fantasy covers — long-legged women in skimpy outfits with a huge cross. Oh, yes, and a section of Dan Brown and Nora Roberts.

And on to the science fiction / fantasy….vampires, demons, vampires. What happened to my space opera? Oh, geez, the graphic novels are here now! They’ve cut down my science fiction to put in big comic books. My son rolls his eyes at that remark, so we won’t tell him, okay? Our little secret. Also a secret I like to read them, but not to the elimination of my space operas! I mean, how many times can I reread Weber and Bujold? I need a new series!

And fiction….well, it seems chick lit, hen lit, male lit or whatever they want to call contemporary fiction has taken over. All trade size, not too many hardcovers and all with bright or pastel color covers. It could be the romance section five years ago — cartoony and everything!

In the meantime, I guess I’ll read a little erotica, there is a HUGE selection to choose…vampires, demons and unusual fantasies…

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