If you’ve been reading romance novels for any length of time, you may have noticed the selection on the romance aisle has drastically changed over the years. Sometimes, I want to say, “Hey! Who stole my romance?” It’s not that I don’t like what’s being published now, because I do. It’s just I miss how the genre used to be. I want it all. The old and the new. And that’s why this new ebooks craze makes readers the big winners.
In the past, when a book went out-of-print, that was it. Game over. If a fellow reader raved about one of her all-time favorite reads and you wanted to read it too, you either searched the used bookstore or borrow it. That’s a sad thing for authors who make no royalties off used or borrowed books, but it’s sad for readers too. You couldn’t buy your very own, brand new copy.
The good news is, I know a lot of well established, bestselling romance authors who are planning to re-release their out-of-print romance novels as ebooks. Now that’s cause to celebrate.
Unlike the major publishers, most authors plan to keep their ebook prices really low. I’m guessing $2.99 will be the most common price point (due to Amazon restrictions against pricing them any lower). You also get to download a substantial amount of the book for free in a lot of cases. That way you can read several chapters before you commit to buying it. I don’t know about you, but I frequently read the back blurb and the opening pages, think I’m going to like the book, and plunk down $7.99 — only to grow bored by page 50 and put the book aside. Ebooks make that waste of money a thing of the past.
Between the lower purchase price and the free samples, avid readers can save enough money to more than pay for the ereading device of their choice. They’ll actually save money in the long run. Plus, now that Barnes & Noble and Amazon had their price war over the Nook and Kindle, ereaders are much more affordable.
Publishing trends come and go. I fell in love with romance novels in the mid ’80s and devoured those sweeping historical romances about pirates, cowboys, and knights. Then came the late ’90s, early 2000s, when contemporaries became the rage. If you’re not familiar with my books, that’s what I write: fast, fun contemporaries that Affaire de Coeur compared to “comfort food – spicy, warm, and absolutely delicious.” Now dark paranormals are in vogue. As I said above, I want it all. And I hear from a lot of readers who feel the same. So, why aren’t publishers putting out a wider variety of romance novels?
The economics behind that are complicated. Suffice it to say, publishers aren’t willing to take a chance on a novel unless they think they can sell tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands of copies. That’s why Western romance, and many other sub-genres have vanished from the shelves. The audience isn’t big enough to make it profitable for a major publisher to put those books out in print — no matter how wonderfully written they are, or how much the devoted fans want them.
Once again, good news. It is profitable enough for an individual author to re-publish or self publish romance novels for these niche markets.
That thrills me, and I hope it thrills you too. As both a romance author and a die-hard romance reader, I’m very excited about the future possibilities for our genre thanks to the electronic age.
About Julie Ortolon and Her First Ebook
Julie Ortolon is the USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance told in her trademark wit with a Texas twist. She is currently re-releasing her popular Pearl Island trilogy, featuring the exciting St. Claire siblings as they turn a dilapidated mansion – haunted by one of their colorful ancestors – into a thriving bed and breakfast. Falling for You, book one in the Pearl Island trilogy, is available in the Kindle Store at Amazon, or in all ereader formats from Smashwords. You can learn more about this award winning series at JulieOrtolon.com.
Authors: Interested in learning more about converting their backlist to ebooks? Check out www.JuliesJournalOnline.com.
Readers: How do you feel about ebooks? Are you embracing them? Clinging to your paperbacks? Or a little of both?