Erotic e-books are outselling their hardcover counterparts

Sheryl Nadler
Shine On
July 19, 2012

Are you so addicted to erotic fiction novels that you must download your next hit the moment you scroll to the end of your novel's final page? Some of you might be.

The year 2011 marked a tipping point for erotic fiction sales in the United States— it was the first time in history that sales of erotic fiction on e-book outsold hardcover sales of the same genre, according to a new report.

The report by the Association of American Publishers and the Book Industry Study Group says that sales of e-books nearly doubled from 2010 to 2011.

"In the adult fiction category, e-books accounted for 30 per cent of total net publisher sales compared to a 13 per cent share the year before," according to Reuters.

However, print still beat e-book in the adult fiction department when you consider the combined forms of print publications, like hardcover and paperbacks.

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While our friends south of the boarder consume hoards of erotic e-books, we can assume this trend, to some extent at least, exists in Canada.

Many attribute the sudden popularity of erotic fiction, in part, to the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon, says Harlequin spokesperson Michelle Renaud. But as to why so many readers are consuming these novels electronically, Renaud has several theories.

"Romance readers were the first very early adopters of e-reading," she says. "Because they love to consume books at a rapid pace, if they had finished reading their selection of books at midnight, they were able to go online and purchase five or six more books and read them over the next couple of days."

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Renaud also makes the point that e-readers provide a kind of privacy that physical books can't. With an e-reader, someone can be perusing an erotic novel on the subway or bus without anyone knowing what they're up to.

That said, Renaud reminds us that romance readers are great consumers of both e-readers and physical books. And that it's rather trendy to be reading erotic novels right now, regardless of whether it is in paper or electronic form.

"Because it is such a big trend, you do see all kinds of women and celebrities with erotic novels in their hands and they're very proud and excited to be reading it," she says.

The report looked at data from 1,977 publishers and also found that children's/young  adult fiction was the fastest growing category in publishing in 2011. This might be due, in part, to the popularity of blockbusters like The Hunger Games, says Reuters.

Watch the video below for the story of a celebrity who remained celibate with her husband for 11 months while they were dating.

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