BOOKSHELF

Romance Fiction Sales Skyrocket

Love in the time of publishing's implosion: While American book sales fell 1.8 percent in 2009, sales of romance novels increased by 7.7, as the genre raked in $1.4 billion. Romance is the best-performing category on The New York Times, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly best-sellers lists. But we're not talking about your usual tales of taboo love affairs. Romance writers and publishers have been getting innovative with their plotlines as of late, penning and producing books themed to Nascar, transgender issues, the Amish, Mennonites, quilting, knitting, the paranormal, and the military. "People want to buy a book that incorporates exactly what they care about," says Nancy Berlin, a literary agent for several knitting romance writers. Particularly popular right now are Amish and Mennonites. Lower priced paperbacks have also benefited the genre. Said Breslin: "In these tough times readers don't want to waste those seven dollars."