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Friday, January 9, 2009

"08 book Sales by Category from Quail Ridge Books

Here's the '08 summary from book sales at one of our state's most important indie book-stores, Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh. Notice anything missing? Right. Poetry. Maybe the literature/fiction category encompasses poetry. I hope so. Nevertheless, in the next few days, I will be working up my New Year's list of my favorite books, with Poetry leading the list. If you have any books you would like to plug, please leave them in the comments section! Thanks!

What to think about Romance being the highest selling category nationally? I suppose that's no surprise, but what does it suggest about us, the us being mostly women? Again, leave your comments below. Myself, in my increasing age, I want challenging books, not predictable, formulaic ones. But if Romance books help keep our precious independent bookstores alive, I'll not say another word. At least, not for now.

Summary:

Highest sales by section: (1) Literature/Fiction; (2) Mystery, (3) Children's Picture Books, (4) Southern Nonfiction, (5) Southern Fiction (6) Biography (7) Teen Fiction (8) Children's Fiction (9) Current Events, and (10) Religion. (FYI: The highest selling category nationally is Romance.)

6 comments:

Glenda said...

I have an idea why romance is the highest selling genre of books. I believe that many women who work all day, come home and work harder with children, cooking, cleaning, etc. choose a book that will take them away for a while from the reality of their lives. The romance novels don't take "work" to understand. For women who have spent hours working their minds at a job, a simple romance is a quick escape. That is my view.
Another reason I've heard is that often women are disappointed in the lack of romance in their own lives, therefore they can get lost in a fantasy reading a romance novel.And -- the book always ends happily.

Michael Boccardo said...

Working at Barnes & Noble, I see romance novels leave the shelves quicker than the garments shed by characters on the page. I think Glenda is right when she says it's an escape for some women after an arduous day of demands; i.e, work, family. For some I believe it can be a distraction from an unhappy life. But I hope those who read them for that reason understand that what's on the page is fiction. Romance, "bodice-rippers", potboilers, whatever name you label them with will likely never go out of fashion. There's always that element of fantasy--"cotton candy" for the brain as I like to call it. Hopefully, though, readers will pick up something more substantial every once in a while. To prevent cavities, of course.

Kathryn Stripling Byer said...

Good morning Michael and Glenda, thanks for responding. My mother has always read these books, saying she had enough "reality" in her life and didn't need anymore. I think the Bollywood spectaculars serve the same purpose for a people whose lives are difficult, to say the least. (I love them myself!)
I recall reading some of them when I was a teenager and our well-educated Prebyterian preacher, fresh out of seminary, scolding my mother when he found out, saying that I should be reading literary books, not fluff. My immediate response was--I'll read whatever I want. After a while, though, I became bored with them.
My mother says they also help put her to sleep! It's the predictable and formulaic she wants in a life in which each day brings news of another death or family disaster.

Diane said...

This genre allows women to be swept away from their mundane daily routines to a world where women are prized. It also allows women who are constantly multitasking to accomplish all the requirements of the day to escape to a fantasy world that doesn't require a lot of planning.

As a teacher, I am attempting to enlighten my students by introducing them to the amazing world of words. Later this month, I am in charge of presenting a Family Literacy Night in our small community in Western North Carolina. It pains me that our residents aren't lovers of print. I am open for suggestions on how to make this night special for our students and parents. The ultimate goal of this night would be to open up the adventures to be found in books. I need a hook to boost participation. Are there any amazing ideas out there?

Kathryn Stripling Byer said...

Diane, I will mull over this, and you readers out there, help Diane out with this important venture. Diane, let me know where you are---my email is nclaureate@aol.com. I may have some hooks for you, but we can discuss this at more length via email, if you wish. K

Kathryn Stripling Byer said...

Here is an email from Nancy Olson, who runs Quali Ridge Books.

Hi Kay,

I read your piece about our "best selling sections," and felt your disappointment that poetry was not in the top ten. We have about 250 sections, so it's not likely poetry would be ranked that high. But we do sell poetry well, steadily, and it increases a bit each year. You poets are gratifyingly supportive.

As to romance, we do not sell romances--I just wanted readers to know how different we are from national sales.

I hope 2009 is a good year for you.

Best--

Nancy