African American Readers
Are we taken for granted? Yes, I said we because I’ve been an avid reader since I was a little girl. As I grew older romance novels became my preferred entertainment. I never had a problem spending my hard earn dollar bills on a good book.
When you walk into a book store, do you have difficulty finding the novels you would like to read that was written by African American writers? Are you told, “We can order that for you” when you ask the store clerk about the novel? I don’t know about you, but I’m capable of ordering books on-line myself. When I go into a bookstore, it’s because I want the book now, not in a few days. I can’t tell you the number of times, I’ve walked into a book store only to be disappointed because they do not have the author I want to read on the bookshelf.
I read a variety of authors, one of my favorite is Julie Garwood. I never have a problem walking into a bookstore and purchasing her latest or any of her past novels. In some cases, I was able to purchase it before the release date. However, when another of my favorite author, Beverly Jenkins, Bring on the Blessings was released I could not find it in one bookstore on its release date. I can’t say it was any particular franchise, because I went to every bookstore that was in the metropolitan area I live. I ended up ordering it on line, as I do with most of my favorite AA authors.
Why? I’m not sure. Romance Slam Jam Conference has put out a survey that I hope will help to clear up a few misconceptions. Take a look at the questions, and then take a moment to complete the survey. At some point the industry will began to recognize the buying power of the African American Reader and in the future may give us a little more respect by placing the authors we like to read on the bookshelf. See the posting below:
Readers of African-American romance don’t read romantic suspense, paranormal romances or romance with science fiction elements. Readers of African American romance don’t read many books. Readers of African American romance don’t buy books.
Do you disagree with any or all of these statements? If so, please help us spread the truth.
The Romance Slam Jam organization is distributing its first-ever Readers of African American Romance Survey. Too often, the publishing industry provides only anecdotes or theories regarding who we are; where we are; what we want; and whether we have the numbers to support a wide variety of literary genres. It’s time we spoke for ourselves.
The link below will launch our survey. Please take a few moments to complete it to the best of your ability. Then, once you’ve submitted your responses, please tell a friend – or two – to stop by and help us get the word out about the readers of African American romance. The survey ends July 31, 2010. Once the survey results are tabulated, we will post the results to the Romance Slam Jam Web site and distribute a press release summarizing the survey to key contacts in the publishing industry and the media.
Thank you in advance for your assistance in spreading the word about readers of African American romance.
Here’s the link to the online survey: http://www.romanceslamjam.org/survey/
Thank you for stopping by.
Until the next time,
Iris, I agree with you about finding AA romance books on store shelves. If it’s not the Harlequin/Kimani four or five books of the month, then other books are hard to find or have to be ordered. As you, I often have to order my books. At one time, you were able to find more AA books, but it seems they are becoming more scarce. I hope this survey will show that we do and are reading OUR books.
I’m hoping the very same thing. That’s why I put the survey here and on my Facebook page. I’ve also sent it out to everyone in my network. Maybe, if we show our buying power, the industry will began to look to our demand for authors we like to be on the shelf in the stores.
I wonder if the thought pattern is, if we get into the store and they do not have what we are looking for, we will settle and purchase whatever they are offering? At one time that is what I would do. You know when you have a reading fettish going on, you just want a good book! LOL! So, you survey what they have to settle. Well, I stopped settling last January when I could not get Beverly Jenkins’ book, Bring on the Blessing. I told the managers of several stores, they had lost a customer. I”m sure they are not concerned about lossing one customer. But imagine what will happen if they began to lose a lot more because of their inability to share bookself space. Could be an interesting turn of events.
Thanks for stopping by.
I feel your frustration. Too many times I’ve gone into my local bookstore in search of a book only to find it wasn’t on the shelf. And just like you I had to turn around, go home and order it online. I sincerely hope this survey make some waves and bring about change.
I think it’s a good beginning. It is so important that we get as many people as we can to complete the survey. We’ll see what happens.
Not having the books is why I stopped shopping at book stores. When the gas started going up. I decided to buy online. I’m not wasting my gas going to a place that won’t have the books.
If I’m in a bookstore it is usually for a book signing. Or the kids are looking for something.
LaShaunda, you put another twist on it that I did not consider. The cost of driving from bookstore to bookstore and still end up empty handed. WOW, had not added in that factor. What is really a shame is that it has been this way for awhile and I’m not sure I see a change anywhere in the near future. That’s why it is so important that we, AA authors began to gather data now to show there is a market for our work. Two thumbs up to RSJ for taking the reigns on this one.
I must concur with all the prior messages. It’s bad enough that our African American bookstores are closing down and we must go to the major chain bookstores to purchase our books. Then to get to the establishment and their is no displayed area or section for our authors, but just a few shelves desginated for the AA authors. What a shame because all the money we could generate into this economy, but I guess they prefer we go to directly to the authors who will self publish or our internet competitors.
Just wanted to speak my mind. Beverly Jenkins is one of favorite authors as well. I have had no problem getting her new releases, as well as some of the other author I Usually go Borders either in DC or MD.
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