Monday, March 23, 2009

The Boss: Go To The Storytellers*

Like most people, I get my news from Jon Stewart. The only thing that could make his reportage more reliable to me is if it were solely the domain of the Internet. For as you know, if it’s written on online it must be true.

Anyways, couple nights ago while Jon was interviewing the Boss, I found myself as verklempt as I’ve ever been over Bruce Springsteen, only, unlike the usual case, it wasn’t over Bruce’s fine goin-on-60 rocker ayuss.

Nope. Bruce was hawking his new disk, “Working on a Dream,” and talking about how this economy is forcing us to look for heroes. Says Bruce, in times like these, we turn to the storytellers for guidance.

From what you’ve been telling me since back in 2005, so many of you started “looking for heroes” as early as 9/11 or shortly thereafter. I first turned to romance then.

Today, we continue to turn to the storytellers who’ve moved women for decades and helped us work toward hope one happily ever after at a time. Our bank accounts may not tell the story of economic health in the near future. But as a whole, we romance readers continue to use what extra entertainment dollars we can scrounge to buy the books we love. Which, according to Romance Writers of America e-News, is very good news for the health of romance…

”…romance fiction is selling well despite the economic downturn. Harlequin Enterprises reports revenue rose 2.2 percent in 2008 to $379 million U.S., with sales up in both the North American retail and overseas segments. (Publishers Weekly, 26 Feb. 2009) And, the Chicago Sun-Times says sales have increased at Borders for American history, 'romance novels and science fiction and fantasy books.' (Chicago Sun-Times, 28 Feb. 2009) The USA Today best-seller list reflects the success of romance fiction. For the week of March 4, 'one-quarter of the list’s top 50 books are romance novels, and 20 percent of the books new to the list are in that category.' (USA Today, 4 Mar. 2009)"

…and in my op, grand as well for our continued health and well being. For example, who among us wouldn’t give up a couple over-priced cups a’ body-agitatin’ joe to buy a body-reelin’-and-relaxin’ new romance every couple weeks?

Would you? Are you? How have your romance-buying habits changed in this harsh economy? What are you doing to see that you still get all the romance you crave? Are you giving up other luxuries to get your love book fix?

*This week at RBTB, let’s ‘Go to the Storytellers” and see what new and upcoming books I think might be good buys for your hard-earned entertainment dollars.
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Kati said...

Hi Michelle - I hope you're feeling better and have been pampered to death in your recovery.

My budget for romance remains the same, but I'm spending less. Mostly because 1)I'm reviewing for a site so some of the romance I would have bought I'm getting for free, 2)I think I'm becoming pickier (if that's possible) about romance, and just am not taking as many chances on new to me authors.

I'm more precise about buying and rarely (if ever) make impulse buys at the book store. Exception is e-rom. If the back write up is compelling enough, I might give one a try.

Jessa Slade said...

Take me away... That's all I'm asking of my romances. And they do it. Yesterday was a two-book day, curled up on the couch. My ideal Sunday.

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Buona sera, Bellas! Thanks for holding down the fort while I took off a few days. I'm so psyched to be seeing in, like, HD now! It's so totally cool. I forgot that ink is black and not gray. I did get a little pampered, but mostly slept a lot, which is my fave way to relax. I also got a lot of book and prize organizing done. And yesterday, we took the kids fishing, by which I mean walked them down the street to the manmade lake and threaded lox on a hook. I'm not even sure the lake is stocked. But someday, they'll say, "remembe3r when they took us fishing? Yeah, mom and dad were so bogus."

That's it for me, too, Jessa. My entertainment needs are simple, so just about any book can do the trick for me. Isn't it best when you've cleared out all other work and have guilt-free veg/reading time? Or can you do the couch thing and block out everything else?

It's interesting about the new author thing, Kati. One of the things I'm thinking a lot about is trying to feature new authors I think are good so people will consider buying their books if they know a bit more. As you know, it's hard in any economy for debuts, but, understandably, it's even harder now.

The impulse buy even for me has been curbed, too. I'm not going online and clicking up a bunch of things at once. I may gather up a bunch, then wait a couple days and review the list.

Manda Collins said...

Yay! Glad your surgery went well, Michelle and you're back to seeing things in all their glory once again:)

I have to admit that I have been curbing my book buying quite a bit since the economy got so tight. And I HATE it. There are so many books I want to buy that I just cannot afford. So unless it's something I'm desperate for then I'll try to check it out from the library, or will look for it at the UBS. And actually, it's been good for me to some degree because I was buying way more books than I ever actually read. This way the books I buy are the books I love. And if I end up adoring the book I got from the library then I'll buy it at a later date.

Sigh. I can't wait until the economy bounces back. I needs my books:(

orannia said...

Michelle - I'm rapt that the surgery went well! YAH!

My reading practices have't changed that much. I borrow the majority of my books from the local library, which has an incredible range. I buy the odd keeper and ER (which the library doesn't really purchase...although it is expanding its range :)

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Thanks, Manda! We've all been there, the buying the books we don't end up reading, I think. And books still are complete luxury items for most people, whether paperbacks or hardcover.

I read a piece on the things women won't do w/out in this economy. Expensive face prods were tops, and I do likes my creams, but use them really sparingly now. Shoes, apparently, some chicks still are buying, though I can live w/last season's (or the season before's -- I know that's funky grammar).

Another survey asked women what they'd do w/ their last $100 and overwhelmingly the majority (redundant) said they'd spend it on hair care. I'm definitely in that camp; trashy bleach don't come cheap -- it just looks like cheap in my case. :)

People definitely seem to be eating out, and a friend of mine who works for qvc was telling me that folks still are buying electronics and big ol big-screen tv's. I guess they feel that the expenditure pays off in entertainment at home.

Estella said...

I am not buying as many books now.
Have to choose the ones I absolutely HAVE to have.

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Hi, Orannia! Thanks (and thanks, too, Manda, for the nice wishes. It's so awesome, I can't wait to get the other eye done soon). :)

Orannia, do you buy your erom in e-book format?

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Hi, Estella! How do you choose the MUST HAVEs?

Unknown said...

I gave up book buying for Lint and that has been pretty hard to do but not to much longer and I’ll be back in business :o)

But I’m still buying pretty much the same. The only thing is I had to title my TBR piles 2008 and 2009. I try to read at least 4 from the 2008 pile a month and won’t let my 2009 pile get over 10 books at one time. I was becoming really bad about buying tons of books that I wanted to read at the moment but just never got around to them. So I’m trying to be a little bit more practical about buying books when I know I’m going to read them right away and not just put them to the side for when ever.

Portia Da Costa said...

I'm so glad the surgery went well!

I would cut back on a lot of things before I'd buy less books. Certainly clothes, as I have tons of things I don't wear already and I like pretty basic styles rather than fashion. Cosmetics, well, I have a few faves I stick to, so I don't lash out on trying new stuff.

Yeah, I think I can find lots of things I can do without in order to still keep buying books! :)

Unknown said...

I still love buying my books but I find myself debating over whether to buy new old or go to the library a lot more these days.
Glad you are feeling better!!

Stacy~ said...

Hey Michelle, you're back :) Hope you're feeling well and getting better all the time.

I like having new books of my own, so I set aside so much $$ each paycheck for books, and only spend that money. I seem to be spending less because I have a wicked TBR pile to get through, also, like Kati, I review for a site that sends me a lot of great books.

I do find myself willing to try new authors more these days, and thank God for that. Julie James, Beth Kery, JA Konrath (Michelle, he writes an interesting mystery series about a female lieutenant by the name of Jack(ie) Daniels, and the books are set in Chicago). I am willing to be daring with my reading this year. Still haven't fallen completely in love with ebooks, but I'm getting there.

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Stace, most of us fall in love with e-books around 2-3.30 a.m. It always looks like love at that time of the morning if the sex is hot.

And you're right, it's kind of fun to spend money on a book by a new author cause the potential is so there. The only problem is, when you find a debut author you like, I have to, uh, I mean, I get the pleasure of hearing you talk about that author a lot.

It's kind of a sweet dilemma, Kate, isn't it? btw, when does your next lovely Regency boy drop in stores?

Portia, I'm notorious for keeping the cosmetics beyond the 'good until' dates. [amyskf, we dont' really need your comments about my never feeling obligated to actually put makeup on if there aren't cameras involved, thanksverymuch]. So i can do without those,too. But buying books feels so decadent. I love that.

LeeAnn, what a good little Catholic girl! I can give you special dispensation, you know, as a former Catholic of the Year. just kidding. I try for the title every year, but never win. But I hear it comes with a really cool tiara. What makes you put a book at the top of the tbr?

Unknown said...

The main thing that pushes a book to the top of my TBR pile is what I’m in the mood for. I just got done having a huge historical kick and right now I’m catching up on all of my Suzanne Brockmann books. But this month has gotten away from me and I’ve only read three TBR books so far. I need to pick up the pace.

Another thing that will push up a book on the TBR pile is if someone is raving about a book that’s in my pile. Then normally I pick up that book next if they made it sound good enough.

Stacy~ said...

I'm educating you Michelle, because I know you'd hate to miss out on some sexy books ;) The pleasure is all mine *g*

azteclady said...

Great going with the surgery, Michelle! I remember, after having lasik, how it felt to rediscover the world--the colors *are* different, aren't they?

On the question... As things have gotten progressively tighter chez aztec, I've trimmed the budget accordingly.

The last two things to go would be my online connection and books, I think.

(Yeah, the cell phone ranks up there with mortgage payments ;-) can't cut that)

Unknown said...

Michelle, 'Simply Shameless' is out at the beginning of May :) a copy is winging its way to you!

Becky said...

I'm right there with you Jessa. I can think of nothing better than sitting around reading wonderful books all day... I read a really great romance book this weekend titled, "Flying into the Sun" by Ginger Blymyer. I couldn't put it down- finished it in one day, I can't wait for the next one. I loved how it turned out.

Portia Da Costa said...

Oh, Michelle, I'm glad it's not just me who hangs on to makeup longer than they should. I only wear a simple makeup now, but I've been through phases when I was a cosmetics junkie... and bought loads! And I still have leftover stuff from them. Can't bear to throw it out, because some of it was quite high end. But, I know I'll never wear it because it's probably full of lurgi now and will bring me out in a rash! LOL

I'm just daft sometimes... :)

Mary M. said...

I reduced my book purchases following the spending of all my economies on a long trip to Europe last year :). I don't feel it much because I had bought so many books the year previous to that that I literally have hundreds of unreads books at home right now so I have plenty of stuff to read. I'll start buying again once I've made my way through a few dozens of those. In the meantime, I only buy the new books from my very favorite authors, and only if I'm up to date in their series: Nalini Singh, Kerrelyn Sparks, JR Ward (I'm going crazy trying to find ARC reviews for that one!!) and some M/M books in print, because I can't stand e-books.

Playground Monitor said...

...who among us wouldn’t give up a couple over-priced cups a’ body-agitatin’ joe to buy a body-reelin’-and-relaxin’ new romance every couple weeks?

I was looking for blog topics and found out March is National Caffeine Awareness Month. I went to and OH MY GOSH they try to scare the pants off you there.

But yeah, I'd give up Starbucks and brew my own at home for books. I'm being a little more selective with my book-buying these days but I'm still buying.

I'm a make-up simplist too and I'll eat beans daily before I give up my high-speed internet. I know we have lots of fat in our budget that can go -- stuff like call waiting and caller ID. We already cut out the premium channels on TV. And my friends laugh because my cell phone rings instead of having ringtones. Those cost money!

Glad you're seeing black and white now instead of gray and white!


Monica Burns said...

{{{{Michelle}}}} Good to have you back, and glad the eye surgery was such a success. I'm getting new glasses next week an I'm looking forward to seeing small print again.*grin*


If I want a book, I buy it. Now of course I don't buy as many as everyone here because I don't have much time to read. But if it's a book with buzz, I'm all over it (and the hero). I also save them as treats when I reach a certain goal. I need to use that tactic for when I'm down. Read a book instead of eating bon bons. *sigh*

@Playground - everyone tries to scare us with what's bad. The heart doc said to stay away from caffeine and rollercoasters. I looked at him and said, so why don't you just take this thing out because I'm not gonna quit living. *grin* Besides caffeine is how I function during the day when I'm up late writing. Damn, I really need to win the lotto so I can quit the day job. *sigh* But I've only got about 20 pages left for the new book 2B done. So I'll be able to slack off some. *grin*

Monica Burns said...

Why is it the guys at blogger didn't figure out that you need to have the email notice deal for people who've not yet signed into the damn service. GRRRRR

orannia said...

HI Michelle,

Apologies for the late reply. No, I buy my ERom in print format - I don't have an eBook Reader (and they aren't that common over here and we can't order than from the US) and my computer was built in the dark ages and I'm still on evil dial-up so downloading takes centuries! One day :)

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Buona sera, Bellas! It's spring break week here and, shocking to me, I can't seem to get as much work done w/ the kids home as when they're at school. go figure.

Wondered at the e-erom, Orannia, cause when it first got big, everyone read it on-screen cause mostly you only could get it at Ellora's etc. I was so happy when my girlfriend turned me on to it. Of course, I lost my library when my computer crashed; never was wise enough to back em up. sigh. I don't have an e-reader and not sure I'll get one. Have lots of friends who love em, but I'm not adapted to reading on-screen. I know, I know, the book is soon to go the way of the newspaper, but I've never been particularly hip...

Mon, what do you mean about the email svc? Is that when the comments show up in your box? Mine switches on/off at will it seems.

Tiona said...

Hey, Bellas! Sooo glad your surgery went well yesterday, QB! Now you can notice all those fine six packs and rippling muscles on the cover of Monica McCarty's books, hehe. Ok, so I'm reading her Campbell's series right now and I think I need to be a scout for those models. Whew!
Hmmm...what I would give up for my books. Well, some of my books I can get on trade at our local bookstore, but, given my higher annual income this year, I've already shopped twice from this month *grin* to get books that I can't live without. You know what I mean, Bellas! Calgon, take me away! Or, better yet, you studly, handsome, big-in-all-ways hero!

Monica Burns said...

Michelle, I'm talking about the subscribe checkbox that allows you to subscribe to a specific blog post and its comments.

To get the subscribe checkbox to show up, you either have to be logged into Blogger BEFORE you make your first comment OR you have to log in and then go to the comment page.

A lot of times I'll visit your blog or others and I'm not logged into Blogger with my name and password. So when I make that first comment somewhere, I wind up making a comment, then I have to make another comment just to subscribe.

An inconvenience really, but you'd think geeks would be a little more logical about things like that. LOL

Julie in Ohio said...

Sure, I've been known to turn down a mocha latte and other 'wants' to feed the 'need'. ;o)

I'm finding myself at the library more and more. The only problem with that is they don't carry most of my fav authors (small town, small minds) and none of the new ones. The nice thing is that I can read some of the out of print books.

My word veri is THRIL. Hmmmm

Becke Davis said...

As my husband will attest, I'm buying more romance books than ever.

And, as far as Bruce goes, he doesn't need to read romance: he writes it, in his songs.

EmilyBryan said...

Hi Michelle, you gorgeous creature! I'm so glad your surgery went well.

I was looking for some writing quotes to use for the workshop I'm doing for New England Chapter RWA this weekend (JOY OF WRITING SEX!) and I ran across this:

"Literature is a luxury. Fiction is a necessity." (Wouldn't you know it, I forgot to write down who said it!)

I'll give up a lot of things before I stop feeding my reading habit.


Santa said...

So glad to hear your surgery went well. Have you been humming 'I can see clearly now...'?

I seem to be in league with so many here. I'll keep buying my keepers. I wait a long time to try new authors. It's like I have a committment phobia or something. Clearly, I'm hanging around my deli thugs a little too much, lol.

I've never been a girlie-girl, so new shoes, clothes or cosmetics have never been a money drain for me. We have been cutting back on dinners out and as a foodie, this has been most painful. As a business women in the food service industry, this is something I want to make room for as soon as possible. It's important to support people within my industry. I guess that's why I'll continue to buy books in this, my other profession.

Liz V. said...

I'm happy to help stimulate the economy and continue buying books. I've cut back on other things.