(June 15, 2000)
In preparation for an upcoming column about readers and possible publisher preferences, we’d like you to participate in the following survey. When you click the “submit” button, you will be returned to our home page.
I first looked at publishers and reader preferences nearly four years ago. I’d like to take another look and see what has changed and what has remained constant, if anything.
While we do request full name and email information and only allow you to send in one survey, rest assured that first names only will be included in the final on-line article. Your email address is important because some answers might require follow-up.
You can make your answers as detailed as you would like – feel free to include percentages.
Your Name:Your E-mail Address:
Have you ever considered publishers? – Does a romance’s publisher play any part in your buying of romances? If yes, explain, and share the name of the publisher(s). If no, explain. And, have you noticed that authors you like tend to be published by the same house(s)? If yes, which house(s)? Finally, does it seem as though some publishers put out a more quality product? If your answer is yes, explain what you mean (better copy editing, better story editing, nicer covers, better authors, etc.), and share the name of the publisher(s).
Your Keeper Shelf – Take a look at your keeper shelf/shelves and see if any publishers are more highly represented than any others. If, for instance, Berkley is in the lead because all the J.D. Robb books are among your keepers, note that. And, if you notice a cluster of publishers you keep, indicate which ones they are. Finally, are there any publishers that are less represented on your keeper shelf?
What You Trade – If you have a bag of books to trade in, take a look at it. Are any publishers more highly represented than any others? If yes, which publisher(s)? If you don’t have any books to trade at the moment, try to remember some past trades and any publisher(s) that stood out. And, do you think there are some publishers with a “bad reputation?” If so, which publishers would you so categorize, and are those bad reps deserved?
Changing Reputations – Some publishers seem to have many well-known (and/or) excellent authors, strong editing and beautiful covers, while others seem to have a reputation for publishing authors and books that seem unpolished. Some have a reputation for books that are less sophisticated. Others sometimes publish books that are poorly edited – the writing isn’t as polished, the editing less well done, etc. Which publishers have you heard of as having good reputations? Are these good reputations deserved? If not, did you used to think so but have noticed they no longer do? And, are there publishers who put out a better quality of romance now than they used to?
Consistency – Do you find that some imprints/lines/series work consisently well or poorly for you? For instance, do you generally enjoy Jove’s Quilting Line or most books put out by Harlequin Temptations? Similarly, are there lines and or imprints that have disappointed you?
Publisher Alignment – Many publishing houses have merged in the past few years and changed their romance lines. For instance: Harper ended its Monogram line and bought Avon/William Morrow; Penguin and Putnam merged and the Topaz line ended; and Random House bought Bantam (which ended its Loveswept line), Doubleday, Dell. On the other hand, Harlequin/Silhouette has begun to publish single title romances with their Mira imprint, and Kensington has gotten into the series game. Have you noticed any changes in the romances you are reading as a result of this? And, speculate on what the future holds as such consolidation continues.
After Thinking About It – Now that you’ve had a chance to think about the questions asked and given your answers, would you say there is a difference for you among the various publishers? What are those differences? Finally, did you learn something that you hadn’t expected?
Comments – Feel free to include additional comments and/or questions you think we missed.