This isn’t the first time I’ve ranted about this subject, so if you’ve heard this before my apologies.
I haven’t read any of the “50 Shades” books and have barely been paying attention to the hype, save for laughing at Amy’s dislike and occasionally taunting her with it. Kind of annoying to have all my e-tailers recommending this to me, but whatever. I haven’t read the books because they just don’t seem like my thing for a few reasons, but I can get behind any author who manages to score a deal as sweet as this one has. I have noticed a few readers on blogs and whatnot asking for similar books, and there’s no shortage out there.
Just don’t go to my local Big Box, unless you want to follow up “50 Shades” with some Robertson Davies (ooooh sexy.)
I rarely buy print now, and when I do it’s usually through Better World Books. What sent me into Big Box this time was a hunt for a recipe book stand. I have a new routine when I go into Big Box — browse bargain cookbook section, browse local interest, browse the Kobo section for accessories, check out the naughty corner to see if they carry the anthologies I’ve been a part of, and then I leave.
Recently the naughty corner has been banished. I’m pretty sure it hasn’t been moved, since I scoured every section of the Big Box in search of it. The adult titles used to be shelved between Manga and Horror. Now, poof, gone. I’ve noticed that a lot of the titles previously shelved in the naughty corner have migrated to romance.
I’m not surprised or even outraged that the naughty corner has disappeared. Most people buy their smut in digital format. And it’s about time the more romance-centric books were moved to romance – taking up one whole side of the Big Box, romance can play nice and let the naughtier cousins hang out. It’s not like my Big Box is the only one — Leah Braemel describes a similar shift in her local Big Box. And frankly, there are more atmospheric places to buy smut than a place that vaguely stinks of Starbucks and has a noisy play area in the opposite corner. Who wants to stand there sampling a book about double penetration while someone’s five year old has a meltdown a few feet away?
Sadly, though, a lot of the titles I recall being in the naughty corner didn’t even make the cut into romance. Meh. Annoying, but like I said, so long as they sell like hotcakes as ebooks I doubt the authors in question will experience any great loss in being banished from between Horror and Manga.
What got my arse up was the location of “50 Shades.” I wasn’t even looking for it. I was perusing for Nick Hornby, but when I glanced to my right, there it was in general fiction & literature. So I scuttled back and forth, looking for some of my favourite erotica/erotic romance authors in general fiction & literature. Surely if “50 Shades” is considered GF&Lit, then I can pick out more smut elsewhere, right?
Nope. Not in general fiction. Not in romance. Nowhere.
So, if “50 Shades” is erotic romance, shouldn’t it be in the romance section? That way when someone reads “50 Shades” and goes looking for something similar, they know where to look. They can go back and pick up more kink than you can shake a stick at by going right to where they found “50 Shades” and averting their gaze right or left: “Hmmm, Megan Hart. Sounds hot. I’ll try this next.”
And for a more bitchier point, if “50 Shades” gets let out of the romance box, why not Lora Leigh? Why not Maya Banks? Hell, why not Anne Rice’s Beauty series? Why do none of the erotic adaptations of Pride & Prejudice get shelved in the same category as the original work? And frankly since “50 Shades” is based on Twilight, why hasn’t that book been liberated from the YA section at my Big Box? (YA seems to suffer a similar fate as the romance category – “like Pretty Little Liars? Want more? Too bad, read some Vampire Diaries and be off with you.”)
This isn’t a slam on “50 Shades” or it’s author by any means. It’s a slam on my local Big Box for inconsistency when it comes to categorization of romance. If a category takes up the entire side of a store, take some time to sort like with like to make it easier for readers. If I go to the cooking section looking specifically for vegetarian dishes, it’s categorized under vegetarian. If I want another vegetarian cookbook, back to vegetarian I go. If I want some steampunk romance, I don’t even have a sci-fi/fantasy romance section to refer to.
Come on, Big Box. It’s not like I have a worker bee following me around going, “If you like THIS TITLE, you’ll love THIS TITLE,” to give me the Amazon experience. Your biggest section is a pain in the ass to navigate. Historical romance, sci-fi/fantasy romance, romantic comedy, and so on (and get thee a gay/lesbian romance category, please) – make it easy.
Then put “50 Shades” where it belongs so its readers can enjoy more smut without having to consult the Internet gurus. Because, you know, we can buy our books on the Internet while we’re there, didn’t ya hear?