The Disappearing Act
Twelve new books appear each month, “all displayed on standardized racks in bookstores, supermarkets, drugstores, as well as chains like Woolworth. e series is backed by heavy TV ads that push the romances, not single titles-spreading costs over a series.”3 As a result of this method of advertising, the company can sell its books more cheaply than other paperback companies ($1.00 to $1.50) and achieve a very low return factor: every novel becomes a best seller. Advertising and promotional gimmicks (such as putting Harlequins in boxes of detergent) account for part of Harlequin’s success. But as Russell Nye points out, “It must be remembered that 98 percent of all books published each year are not best sellers, despite advertising budgets, and that if there is anything a publisher would like to know, it is why they are not.”4 Clearly, the popularity of Harlequin novels indicates a degree of responsiveness in women that requires further analysis.