Readers on the Romance Business


I hesitated to add anything to the Harlequin, RWA thang, as I’m not associated with either of those institutions. RWA doesn’t recognize my publisher, and HQN doesn’t recognize my extraordinary talent ;o).

I’m not so puzzled over Harlequin’s vanity publishing venture, just assuming their parent company is looking for cash. A wee bit surprised that RWA acted quickly. I’m really glad that authors are concerned that new writers might be taken for a ride, but frankly, I haven’t seen a great outflowing of support from NY-published authors for small press authors. They’ve worked hard to get where they are, dang it all, and the rest of us just haven’t made the grade. I suppose that’s true. What I’d really like to ask a few of those who have posted is whether or not they’d sacrifice their values if it meant their pub company would stay afloat.

So, instead, I went out to my Yahoo group to ask readers a few questions. I thought I’d share their answers here. I know this isn’t statistically relevant and that I could have asked better questions, but the answers are food for thought, at least to me. Oh, and I’m fully aware that this is an unusual subset of readers–as they are online already and are part of a small press writer’s newsletter group.

1. Do you know what RWA is and do you care? Would anything they do influence your decision to buy or not buy a book?
I have a vague idea of who they are – association of romance writers. Other than advertising, I don’t think they would influence by buying decisions…Yes but they don’t influence my decisions in any way…Romance Writers of America. Beyond that, not a clue. I do not know how they could influence me to buy a book…Their opinions would not influence me as I select my books by covers and the excerpts on the back of the book….Yes I know what the RWA is adn I would like to go to get my books signed but that is about it. I think they need to update their practice to include ebooks. They do not influence my decision to buy anything….They have NO influence at all. I only get what
sounds good to me….I have a brief understanding of what RWA is. I don’t let anyone influence my decision to buy a book….I do know what RWA is. Their actions might or might not influence my buying decision, depending on what actions we’re talking about…Don’t know who they are but at a guess, I’d say maybe Romance Writers of America. And because I don’t know I’m curious, so I guess I DO care, and I’d need to know a good deal more about them before I could say whether they would ever have any influence on whether or not I’d buy a book. I tend to go with my gut instinct and not pay a lot of attention to what the experts and critics tell me about what to read….Yes, I know what RWA is. No, they don’t influence me to buy or not buy a book….No, I really wouldn’t be influenced by anything they do in order to make a purchase decision. I do know that that the RWA and its various chapters provide a huge source of support to up and coming authors as well as established authors. Regardless, I base my purchasing decisions by reviewing various blogs, readers loops, author sites and then making my decision….I know what the initials stand for but not much about it and no they don’t influence what I buy….No, they don’t really influence what I buy or read. I know some of the authors I read belong, but it is not a key factor in my choice of books to read/buy

2. Do you buy Harlequin books? Do you care who owns them, what their business practices are, or would you even know how to figure that out?

Yes, I have recently started buying Harlequin books again. If I heard something really offensive to me about the company ownership/business practices, it could affect my buying practices… Only certain authors I know I like…I occasionally buy from the HQN an Luna lines of Harlequin books. I know people who buy their main lines all the time. I do not. Most of the time their main lines seem a waste of money to me. Their ability to pull me out of my world
does not equal the money I spent on the book. I do not know where to find info on their business practices…I enjoy Harlequin books and the only way I may not buy them if I heard the purchases were supporting projects I am against…I used to but have gotten pretty bored with Harlequin books. I have no idea ‘who owns then’ and have never thought about their business practices…I do buy Harlequins. I am not sure who owns them, but could probably do
a little research to find out more about them/their business practices….I do buy Harlequin books, but in the last few years it’s been more hit and miss than anything…I don’t know who owns them but I am aware that they are
intending to start an off-shoot where people can self-publish their work in print if they choose, the RWA is kicking them out of their group for going that route. I’m kinda sad about that b/c it’s seems like a form of discrimination
against authors who are willing to put the time and effort into getting their digital work available in print….As for finding out more about their corporate profile, I would research it as I would any other company I may be in interested in finding more about…I have read Harlequin in the past not so much now it depends on the author not the publisher. I do not care who owns them and no I do not know how to find out….I haven’t bought a Harlequin in a very long time (well a specific Harlequin, some of their subsidies, yes, like their Teen line). I do read them if I find them at the library. Yes. business practices can influence my buying decisions. For example, I try very very hard not to purchase anything at Amazon (sometimes it can’t be helped, but I disagree with many of their practices)….I love Harlequin i own a few andby a few i mean so many my better half and mom cut me off after so long and i have to wait for a few months to buy more . i would care if their business practices didnt give everyone with a good story at least a shot at selling with them
I don’t buy or read many Harlequins although one of their old branches that published Science Fiction back in the 70s and 80s gave a lot of acquaintances of mine a chance to get started in writing (and cover art). I do read their NASCAR series occasionally (I think of it as mental and emotional popcorn). I know that at one time they were based in Toronto but couldn’t tell you much more about them. Given the way and the amount that they publish I’d expect they’re probably the literary equivalent of a sweatshop paying very little and not offering much if anything beyond what’s absolutely legally required with regard to rights and royalties but maybe that’s being unfair.
Yes, I buy Harlequin books. No, I don’t know who owns them or there business practices. Yes, I would like to know.
I buy them every once in a while and I don’t know who owns them and yes it would make a difference to me what their business practice are and I have no idea how to find out…I do buy Harlequin for my daughter, not as much for me unless a specific title catches my attention. No I don’t know who owns them, and as long as they practice fair business practices, it wouldn’t be a factor.

3. Where do you buy most of your romances?
I buy most of my books online as more of my purchases are in electronic format, but I also buy from WalMart and BAN….I buy my books from B&N (physical and virtual), local retailers, and the publisher websites. I have recently started buying books from online exclusive stores that carry multiple publishers (Omni Books mainly).
bookstore & online sometimes used …wal mart as I work there….Samhain, Whiskey Creek press, Barnes and Noble, Amazon and anywhere else that I can find what I want for a good price.
Most of my new books come from Chapters/Indigo and if I can, I go brick and mortar where I can although I’ve been known to order online when I couldn’t find a title in the store. I try to be both green and frugal, so I often pick up something that catches my eye at yard sales and thrift stores because it means I can pick up something “interesting” and not regret the price tag if it turns out to be a dud. If I like it, odds are good my next stop at the book store will have me looking for more titles by the same author. I’m just getting into e-books. …I buy most of my books from Walmart. This is the only place to buy books where I live. I purchase some online….I buy most of my books online–that’s been my buying pattern for the last couple of years…Fictionwise, EC, Loose Id, aRe, Changeling Press, Bookstrand, and I’m sure I’m forgetting a few others that I tend to frequent. I also buy print books of authors whose work I have been collecting for many years…Waldenbooks, Barnes and Noble and Wal-Mart. Pretty much in that order.
Online retailers and sometimes used…ooh…I just remembered what store I forgot…MBAM…and for print books I go to
the Indigo line of stores here in Canada….95% are from ebook publishers, with the majority of those from Samhain…I pick up books in various places. If they are print books, I usually go to a store near me. A lot of my print books are impulse buys-I’m shopping for something else and see a book that looks interesting. If there is a specific book I want, I may try Borders or B & N, or the publisher for pre-orders. I also buy from Amazon, although I am unhappy with their ebook policies. For ebooks, I usually go to Fictionwise or publishing houses….walmart, k-mart, B&N, other outlet stores any where that sells books if i see one i want ill buy them

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2 thoughts on “Readers on the Romance Business

  1. Lucinda says:

    In my opinion the Harlequin venture just proves once and for all that publishing is a BUSINESS and $$$ are the bottom line. Harlequin is doing what it has to do in order to stay afloat in uncertain economic times.

  2. Richard says:

    Nice Post, I have bookmarked your site and will return again.
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