(CLARIFICATION: Paula Guran emailed to straighten out an ambiguity in her original post: The sales figures she quotes are for the top 50 titles in the categories described, not for all books in the category.)
“Fantasy mass market paperbacks sold 102,660 units last week,” she reports. “A year ago, in the 49th week of 2007, fantasy mass market paperbacks sold 62,761 units… Romance, always the industry leader in [mass market paperback], sold 202,667 units for the week in 2007 and this year: 310,689.”
Guran adds that the top seven fantasy paperbacks are Charlaine Harris novels, followed by urban fantasists Kim Harrison and Jim Butcher. In the romance category, Nora Roberts is at #1, but some of the other big sellers also have strong fantasy components; see Sherrilyn Kenyon, Heather Graham, and Katie Macalister.
But what about year-to-date sales, you ask? Overall, fantasy sales are down 18 percent compared to the first 49 weeks of 2007, but mass market paperback sales are up 14 percent—and overall romance sales are up 83 percent, with mass market paperbacks alone experiencing a 50 percent boost. And that’s not even considering how many romance books might, in a different climate, have been categorized as fantasies…
photo: Ellen Datlow