Sunday, January 27, 2008

Building unrealistic expectations for one hundred years

The venerable British publisher Mills & Boon celebrates 100 years of...of..
What the hell Mills & Boon is 100 years old.

"A Mills & Boon paperback is sold in a UK bookshop on average every 6.6 seconds. Compare this to our domestic market for literary fiction, where some critically acclaimed novels sell so few copies that the author might well have been better to bypass the publishers and knock them off on a photocopier. As it reaches its centenary, Mills & Boon is a truly astonishing phenomenon."

I still remember catering to readers who read the similarly colour coded Harlequin romances, and were meticulous in their tracking the various series by the numbers, many of the series titles running into the thousands.
They carried folded sheets of paper with bookkeeping strategems worthy of a Fortune 500 company.
Thankfully this was years ago.

"It has been calculated that dedicated modern Mills & Boon readers will have seen their characters sharing some 30,000 embraces and tripping merrily to the altar at least 7,000 times, more than enough happily-ever-afters to cheer the most jaded of readers. Jilly Cooper puts it best: 'After all, life's bloody tough. Mills & Boon is much better than binge drinking.'

But it works best in that order.

Posted by Dave

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