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Thursday, July 27, 2006

Sex in Romance--for Prisoners?!

Be prepared for a rant.

I am a member of a fairly large and well-respected readers' group. Not very long ago, someone posted that they hated sex scenes in romance and suggested the recent shift to graphic sex in romance novels could be due to the large population of prisoners buying romance novels.

Yes, you read that right. Prisoners.

You see, they're not allowed to read porn. At least that's the logic this individual offers. So, they're buying the next best thing--romance novels.

I kept my mouth (pretty much) shut on the loop...but WHAT THE FUCK?!

First, I'd love to know exactly what the current population of prisoners is in the U.S. , total, in all prisons and jails across the country.

Surely, this person does not think that a group of individuals who are incarcerated and cannot go shopping are shaping the romance fiction market?!

From my experience, it would seem the number of prisoners who read romance novels would be small. And smaller yet would be the number of prisoners who purchase those novels NEW. The purchase of used books or the reading of books donated for free into prison libraries would have absolutely NO impact on sales, and therefore would NOT bring about any kind of change in the market.

The ignorance of some people.

I guess only people who've committed felonies would like to read the smut publishers are putting out these days.


And here I thought we were getting somewhere, that those who didn't care for sexy romances were seeing them as more mainstream, since they're more widely available now.

I'm such a dreamer.

posted by Tawny Taylor at 8:37 AM |


Commented by Anonymous Anonymous:

The total prison population of the United States is 2 million. That includes local jails. It's the highest per capita incarceration rate of any nation in the world.

We're 5 percent of the world's population, but we have 25 percent of the world's total prison population.

Sad but true.

3:40 PM 
Commented by Blogger Eva Gale:

Yeah, but what's the percentage of that 2 million that read romance?

If the US had the laws off say...Amsterdam, NO ONE would be in prison.

So you have to balance the stats with facts.

11:47 PM 
Commented by Blogger Tawny Taylor:

Thanks for the statistic, Anon.

2 million is a significant number, but when you break it down by how many read romance, and then again by how many buy NEW romance novels (versus borrow them, obtain used copies from UBS's or get freebies from friends and relatives), the number gets smaller and smaller.

I can't believe prisoners constitute a significant buying force in ANY genre, romance or otherwise.

9:57 AM 

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