Over the holiday break I found myself at my local Barnes and Noble with money to spend. I happily made my way to the romance section, eager to pick up a book or two on my list.
I walked out with nothing. I first looked up an author whose series I’d been following. I found only one of her books, and I already owned that one. The little romance corner consisted mostly of a few very popular authors, and very little diversity.
I paused to wonder why and the answer came to me immediately: eBooks. Many romance readers predominately buy ebooks, so the buying trends change the dynamics, which leads to me finding a diminished selection.
It’s more than just romance. I headed over to the fiction area and still couldn’t easily find my diverse authors. Young Adult was fortunately different, and I was thrilled to see a “recommended by Angie Thomas” display featuring other authors of color. While my local store might be failing the adults on diversity, it did a better job on the young adults.
Still, I would have liked to see a better selection. Heck, a day later I was at a movies/music/books store that had new and second hand options and not only found a few of my diverse friends, but I also found two books, at a great deal, to purchase.
Whether this is a shifting of trends or not, it would be great to see more diverse romances given shelf space. Let readers find us! Sure, we all want to check out the latest from A list author, but we also need new voices to read. The same old same old left me walking out empty handed, knowing I could go to my TBR list and order a bunch of ebooks.
Perhaps we’ll see more change soon. Perhaps this is just the start of limited options with the digital phase of publishing growing stronger. Especially in romance.
I still dream of finding my books on the shelves, and my friends books on the shelves. I love a good paperback. But I, too, predominately buy digital. It’s easier on storage and my budget. I find perks to both methods of reading. Doesn’t change the desire to see many diverse titles in the fresh new book smelling store.
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