Who Reads Romance Novels and Why?

alisa-anton-140238-unsplashWhen you write a book, they say that you should learn who your audience is. Since I mainly work on romance novels, it was easy for me to deduce that the audience is mostly female. But what else is there to know?

The Romance Writers of America cites some great statistics, but here’s what it is in a nutshell. The average* romance reader is:

  • female
  • white/Caucasian
  • 25 – 34 years-of-age bracket
  • heterosexual
  • reading romantic suspense (50% of romance readers), erotic, or historical
  • reading e-books on a tablet or smartphone
  • borrowing their books at the library, buying their books at a brick-and-mortar store, or getting them from a friend
*This is the average reader and does not make up all readers of the romance genre.

Nielsen came out with a cool infographic—from 2016—that has similar statistics. The piece that stood out the most was the fact that reading on a tablet or e-reader device declined from 2014 to 2015. However, reading on a smartphone went up 50%.

I also learned that romance readers are:

  • more likely to have a college degree.
  • more likely to be married or living with a partner.
  • voracious readers, devouring one or more books a week. (The average person reads four – ten books per year—yes, per year.)

“Romance is about hearing the message…it’s okay to be who you are, you will be loved.” Writer’s Digest

A great Writer’s Digest article notes that readers choose romance books because they provide:

  • hope—having a more positive outlook during challenging times
  • representation—seeing their feelings validated or knowing they’re not alone
  • knowledge—learning new information, cultures, or customs
  • inspiration—reading something positive that influences their actions
  • empowerment—feeling encouraged by one’s own gender, race, or sexuality
  • escape—enjoying the book’s happy ending

Do you read romance novels, and why do they appeal to you?

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Photo by Alisa Anton on Unsplash

2 comments

  1. Thank you for crunching the numbers. I am surprised at some of the stats, such as age group. Good to learn about the market, but hope it won’t stop writers pushing “boundaries”.

    Like

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