This infographic, created to accompany the PBS POV documentary Guilty Pleasures (2012), looks at the history of romance novels from the 1940s to the present. It’s interesting, but it leaves out a few things — historical romance, particularly Regency-era romance, stayed popular well into the 2000s, though their appeal may have waned a little in the last few years. The growth in small-town series over the last decade goes unremarked. And the infographic certainly doesn’t mention the explosion of YA and NA romance (or romance in YA) over the last five or ten years. (To be fair, the infographic is 2 years old, and NA is a very recent category.) Including those books aimed at younger reade3rs might also impact the average age of romance readers, lowering it from 49 (print) and 42 (ebooks).
What I find most interesting is the explosion in romance ebooks. Is it just easier to buy them in that format, or is part of their popularity the fact that no-one knows (and can sneer at) what you’re reading? What do you think? And how does the rest of the infographic stack up against your own reading experience, if you’re a romance reader?