Changing Times, Changing Tastes


Tastes change over time; from the food we eat to the clothes we wear. Reading tastes also change, and over the past 10 years there has been a huge shift in people’s reading habits. This is especially true in the romance-reading industry, where those changes have been stark and significant.
So, what precipitates those differences? Lifestyle, daily habit shifts, events that influence our thinking, and those intentionally and subtly placed advertisements can all influence a person’s reading habits.
In 2011, the wildly popular book, “Fifty Shades of Grey” catapulted the erotica arm of romance into the limelight. Individuals who would never have picked up such a book before were clambering over themselves to get a copy. It was shocking, it was new, and it presented a topic never before addressed in polite society.
I remember standing in a bookstore’s romance section. Only if you looked behind the shelves of those mainstream books, would you be able to find the store’s erotica fiction section. It was hidden from public view. When “Fifty Shades of Grey” was released, these books were suddenly placed at the front of the bookstore for everyone walking by to see. It was as though this one book changed sellers’ entire perspectives, and suddenly stores felt comfortable putting their erotica fiction sections into public view.
For those of us paying attention, it signaled a huge change in what readers were buying. A surge of new readers who, before that time, had no idea these genres existed saw them prominently displayed. It opened the floodgates.
A more recent example of the ever-changing tastes of the reading public is in the relatively new genre of “new adult.” This genre focuses on characters in the 18-29 age bracket, when adolescents grow into adulthood. It carries themes aimed at education, sexuality, and what to do with regards to career and plans for one’s life. It is a genre that has quickly become wildly popular with more and more books being released every month.
So, what precipitates the changes? There are many different explanations as to why reading trends have changes so dramatically in recent years. Most would agree that the onset and availability of independent publishing and the vast number of smaller publishing companies has played a large part. Where before, readers were held at the mercy of publishing houses, self-publishing allows for more out-of-the-box ideas to make it onto e-readers.

Read the entire article in the November 2020 issue of InD'Tale magazine.

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