Digital sales of romance books are rising and publishers are realising that romance pays.
Mills and Boon adopted digital early in 2008 and now their paperbacks are also sold as e-books at the same time. Previously when a book was published it was only available in print form for a limited time. If you missed a book by a favourite author then you'd probably have to find it second-hand, or hope it was in a clearance deal sometime in the future.
Now they're available with a few clicks of your mouse and credit card details.
E-books are especially useful if you're researching a particular publisher for future submission; you can read their current publications without creating a pile of books on your table.
Random House's Ebury imprint have recently launched their Rouge Romance list, so when mainstream publishers start embracing e-book romance then it tells you it's a growth market.
One of the reasons given for more romances sold in e-book form is anonymity. You get your e-reader out on the bus or train and no one around you knows what you are reading, it could be Erotica or Dan Brown and there's no tell-tale cover to be seen by the person opposite you.
Now I have to say when I've seen someone on the bus reading a book I do look to see what they're reading, but usually it's not the cover I look at, but the top of the page for a book title...Sadly living on a bus route that passes a university most of the books I see aren't that exciting...
More e-readers are being produced, especially in the US where e-books began selling a few years before the UK, and there are a number of publishers enjoying the boom in e-book sales.
For a writer digital has provided more market opportunities, and not just with their own Kindle books.
Read some figures here.
So, do you think e-reader anonymity helps?