I am currently at my neighborhood large chain bookstore. For the past year I have noticed this disconcerting.trend but until today had not bothered to quantify it.
There is here, as I am sure is the case at your bookstore, a new section (I will not call it a genre; doing so denotes some staying power which I hope is not to be the case) entitled “Paranormal Teen Romance.”
Others have made careers out of pointing out what is wrong with these so-called romances, so I will not do so here. What bothers me is much simpler and quantifiable.
The “Paranormal Teen Romance” section has been alotted a whopping 18 shelves in the front of the store. It cannot be avoided (I speak from experience). The women’s interest section consists of a whopping three shelves is in the far right corner of the store. I know where it is but as I was curious I asked three employees. One knew immediately where it was.
The contemporary social issues section gets a bit more real estate as it is alotted the six shelves immediately next to the women’s interest section. The shelves are all only half-stocked and some of the titles here, while interesting, make me wonder whose definition of “contemporary” it is that matters.
My point here is this: size matters. I am dismayed that we as consumers, collectively, have responded to books about vampires in such a way that they are front and center, not books about social issues. That sucks. We suck.