26 June 2007

REPOST 10/21/2006 An amusing day in publishing...

While I'm on a roll, I might as well keep going.

Some of you might have heard the blow-up about the ads on the DC subway, basically cutting down romance as low-brow and saying their local readers are too good for it. The basic jist was that there are a lot of highly educated people in the DC Metro area, and the group that placed the ad insinuates with it that highly educated people won't read that sort of book.

The New York Times wrote a rather snide article about it; par for the course for a publication that doesn't even know that e-books have been around for more than a decade, that there are dozens of readers for them, that many people OWN those readers, or that POD is a technology for reproducing a single book at a time and not a type of publisher. But, enough of my opinion of the skills of the NYT reporters. They do enough damage to themselves without my help.

It was misguided, to be sure. The people who designed the ad probably didn't do their market research; I'd hope they didn't. If they HAD, they might have found that romance accounts for more than 50% of mass market sales and more than 35% of the total market. Those books aren't all being sold outside of DC, let me assure you!

They might have found that the demographics on romance readers weight highly into the older (30+) woman and educated women to boot. Yes, men read them, but they aren't the highest demographic.

They MIGHT have learned that few readers read ONLY romance, though romance has a loyal following.

They might even have taken the time to figure out how many of their own populace they were snubbing with their display.

Unfortunately, they did none of that...and like Fred Head, they seem completely unwilling to face the facts that they screwed up...BIG TIME. Now they have everyone from Indie press owners to Nora Roberts shoving the numbers down their throats. Of course, they refuse to remove or replace the ads. Why should they waste their ill-spent research funds?

Why should anyone bother to support such a group or company?

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