The Pink Heart Society, this interview with Sue Grimshaw from Borders was posted on the PHS blog yesterday and a very interesting one that I wanted to share. Hopefully you'll also stop by the PHS blog and the review site. It's contemporary romance at it's best with international readers and authors participating.
A huge Pink Heart Society welcome to our special Industry Insider guest today, Sue Grimshaw! Sue is the Romance buyer for Borders and well known in the industry as being a marvelous ambassador for the genre. Thanks Sue for taking the time to answer a few of our questions today!
We'd like to know a bit about how things work at Borders in respect to the Romance genre. How does Borders view category - is it best left on the endcap for 3 weeks to do its thing, or is there more to it?
Borders has always viewed category romance as part of the romance business overall. Harlequin works very closely with us to determine our assortment and; merchandising presentation, as well as, promotional opportunities that we can offer the customer. It has been a stable business for us & one that we will continue to offer as long as our customers continue to buy, & that should be for a very long time.
Is there are particular order the books are put in their end cap?
Romance maintains two end-caps in most stores. Title selection for those fixtures is determined by the publishing schedule and volume of the buy. The theme for the endcaps can vary between Best Sellers, New Releases, author themed, sub-genre themed, etc. We do leave some placement up to store discretion as well so they can merchandise the right books to their customers.
Which are the most popular lines at Borders? Does it vary from region to region?
Book trends vary from region to region, store to store, even vary month to month :-) . Much is determined by what is being published so when we review trends we try to take into account a broad enough period of time. Right now, paranormal romances continue to top the charts as far as sales trends above last year; contemporary romances are also very strong.
Do the lines carried vary much store by store?
Title selection varies from store to store but the sub categories within romance are available in all stores.
Do category romances ever catch your eye?
Oh sure – much like the customer I end up reading many of the best selling authors that continue to write category books. Certain titles seem to sell better than others so I review those books as well to see what triggered the customer’s interest.
What trends in romance are you noticing? Are the trends the same in category?
The nostalgic, small town contemporaries continue to sell well. Paranormal romances also appeal to our readers & sexier stories no matter what the sub-genre, sell very well. Desire & Presents are the top selling lines in category & those are predominantly contemporary stories.
What do you think category romance offers that is unique?
Category is a great way for readers to find new authors without much time or financial investment. For busy moms, it is a quick read but fulfilling story, & they’re great to take on vacation – the smaller size is easier to pack.
And a few more personal type fun questions: What is the very best part of your job?
Reading the books of course! I really enjoy all aspects of the job but being able to read all the different books within the genre is great fun to me. I enjoy meeting romance readers too, just like them, I love to discuss the books with others that have the same interest. Getting to meet romance readers is one of the reasons why I’m looking forward to ROMCON, as I can’t wait to chat with everyone (www.romconinc.com). I also enjoy meeting with readers on our blog, Borders True Romance (www.bordersblog.com/trueromance).
What is the worst part?
Oh, probably some of the mundane stuff I have to do from day to day --- but, even that I don’t mind – every job has that, right?
What are you reading right now?
Nick’s story in Stephanie Tyler’s new romantic suspense series, TOO HOT TO HOLD – yummy! OOps done with that (& loved it!), now reading ECSTASY UNVEILED by Larissa Ione -- what a voice!
What’s your absolute favourite subgenre to read? What’s your reading weakness?
Favorite sub-genre is historical – not sure why really but even with all of the new sub-genre’s romance has acquired over the years, historical books are my favorites. I'm all about the characters & the emotional relationship, so if an author can serve that up I'm all over it!
Thanks PHS for having me and Borders on your blog – I’d like to encourage your readers to stop on by BTRB, Border’s True Romance Blog (www.bordersblog.com/trueromance) to visit & comment on some of our author, editor & blogger posts – we always manage to have a fun time & you never know when there is a giveaway! All the best in the New Year, Sue