More than 70 new romances drop today, Tuesday, October 27, just in time for your non-holiday shopping. Which is to say, even though you'd think such a flurry of releases must mean publishers are hoping to capture the pre-holiday consumer, the fact of the matter is a large, end-of-month roll-out of titles - while thrilling for fans clamoring for the latest from faves -- isn't unusual.
"Most of the big publishers are on a monthly release schedule with about 90% of their books shipping in one big lay down," says Tommy Dreiling, Barnes & Noble Romance Buyer. "They pick out major bestsellers to scatter through the month, but most of the books come out together [in a monthly mass release]."
And while we might assume the season for holiday book sales is in full swing --especially with hot holiday reads like the "Highlander Christmas" and "Deep Kiss of Winter" flying off shelves -- in bookselling today, post-holiday sales are extremely important.
"In the past, people would pick out a book to give as a gift and, even if it was exchanged, the actual sale was made before Christmas," explains Dreiling. "Most people give gift cards, which don't count as a sale until they're redeemed. People flock to the stores in the weeks after Christmas to spend their gift cards, so that's shifted a lot of the sales to after the holidays."
But that doesn't mean folks aren't buying books right now, as romance sales remain strong in an economy that makes many of us hyper-conscious of how we spend our hard-earned entertainment dollars. And of this day's crop of even more great releases than usual to plunk down good money for, one in particular stands out, not only because of its lovely storytelling, engaging characters, and charming, sometimes naughty dialogue, but also because it's the last novel written by a woman as talented as she was intelligent, witty and refined: the late Edith Layton.
In "To Love a Wicked Lord," Layton introduces Phillipa Carstairs, a beautiful, exceptionally bright young woman jilted by a man who seems to have duped "Pippa" and the doting, elderly grandparents who raised her. Pippa's grandfather - a world-famous, well-connected scholar -- arranges to have a colleague, the highly competent, if conspicuously foppish, Maxwell, Lord Montrose search for the scoundrel.
Montrose doesn't count on Pippa's and her eccentric grandmother's insisting to tag along on his search, or Pippa's innocently tempting him to behave rather ungentlemanly when alone with her. Yet even more confounding, as their journey takes them to places filled with danger during England's tenuous peace with France, Montrose realizes that Pippa's growing awareness of her value as a woman may force him to adjust his thinking - before it's too late! -- about the reality of happily ever afters.
Dropping today alongside this grand finale of Layton's are many great novels clamoring for your attention and reading pleasure, some from legends, others from soon-to-bees. And a day like today also can shake
things up, with top books being elbowed aside. Says Dreiling, "There will be a complete shake up in the best seller list. "Covet," by JR Ward has been number one for three weeks but will probably not be able to maintain the number one spot against a big batch of new releases."
It'll be cool to see whether that holds true. But more interesting, perhaps, is whether Dreiling feels there might be a sleeper or two among today's crop of drops. "Sleeper of the Month? Well, I'd have to say "One Lucky Cowboy ," by Carolyn Brown. I've been into Westerns lately."
What titles are you looking forward to? Would you rather score/buy a gift card or a book for a holiday gift? What are your fave Layton reads/memories.
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