Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Shelving Niches, Shelving Ghettos

Publishers Weekly quotes Borders spokesperson Ann Binkley as saying the chain does not put restrictions on covers and shelves the books according to content. Erotic romance is shelved with the rest of the romance titles, while "erotic literature" (such as The Almond), goes in the "Sex & Intimacy" section.

But when I looked up "Dream and Desires", an anthology in which all the stories are romance and only 2/19 are erotic, I found it under: Psychology > Sex/Recovery > Erotica. This does not thrill me as I am willing to bet far fewer customers will find a predominantly sweet romance anthology on the erotica shelf in the non-fiction psychology section. Novels by many of the contributing authors are to be found in romance, but the anthology seems to have been deemed, for some reason, not romance.

This got me thinking. Now I do not see all labelling as bad. If being on the erotica shelf will actually increase sales. I will be all for it. But honestly, even with a group like us--how many of you know there is an erotica section in Borders non-fiction area, and if you do do you check it as often as the romance area?

The same thing applies to their shelving of gay fiction and African-American fiction. If books get doubled shelved in both places, great. If they get shelved in the non-fiction area and sell more books there, great. But is this true? If it is not, is Borders institutionally saying somethings about what is and isn't romance--or at the very least it is saying: if you are not in a certain group, this book is not for you.

And I would not be so skeptical of Borders' competence in sectioning their stock if I was not already buying most of my magazines from a section called "Mens Interest".


Red Sage has recently opened their ebook imprint.

EPIC members are voting on the inclusion of authors and publishers of short works, and giving voting rights to publishers.

Author Michael Dibdin died on March 30th after a short illness. He was best known for the Aurelio Zen mysteries but my favorite Dibdin work was the fabulous parody "The Last Sherlock Holmes Story".


Anne D said...

Well the redsage ebook imprint will be interesting to watch!

I've gathered that getting into a redsage anthology is a reasonably big deal (please correct me if I'm wrong - most of my smut is in ebook format), so if that is the case, I could see them becoming wildy popular and heading right up there with EC, Samhain, LI, LSB if they have the editors and framework set to to handle the influx...

Site is still pretty bare at the moment except for the sub page.

veinglory said...

I don't know a lit about them except that the Secret get sporadic chain store shelving. I flipped through a few and didn't see anything that interested me as a reader.

If they are a prestige brand them the will have a leg up as an epublisher--but the sites are totally seprated and they are entering the field a tad late IMHO.

Still, always good to see a new epublisher run by PWKWTAD (people who know what they are doing).

Arin Rhys said...

Sometimes I think that book stores just toss books onto any which shelf .

Fiona Glass said...

You're lucky you can even *find* erotica and/or gay fiction in your local Borders. Here in Birmingham (UK) I sure as hell can't... *peeve*

I agree that the whole concept of where to shelve what needs looking at. Why don't book stores use the Dewey system?