The Readers’ Advisory Guide to Romance

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Use this handy guide to learn key factors in the appeal of this perennially popular genre, suggested authors and titles to have on your shelves, other collection development tips, and advice on connecting readers with books they're sure to love.

"Happily ever after" and all it entails keeps millions of romance fiction readers devouring approximately 10,000 titles published in the genre annually. Whether you’re already a devotee or a newbie in urgent need of some orientation, you’ll find this readers’ advisory guide the perfect tool for building and maintaining your library’s romance collection, answering patron questions, and leading fans of the genre in their exploration of new authors and titles. With panache and unbridled enthusiasm, Bradford

  • begins with an informative and entertaining overview of the genre's history, including a proposed working definition of "romance" and an explanation of why it matters;
  • sketches out the ways in which romance has expanded in terms of both content and formats;
  • provides guidance on discovering titles from both traditional and indie publishers, best practices for building a robust collection, and suggested resources for keeping up to date;
  • walks you through the myriad of romance subgenres, tropes, and common terms;
  • offers readers’ advisory interview tips for navigating fans’ spectrum of "sexpectations," from sweet to steamy, to assist with connecting readers with the perfect book;
  • shares advice for author visits and other library programming; and
  • includes a comprehensive index that will help you find the information you need quickly.

Series Introduction
Introduction: Welcome to Romancelandia!

Chapter 1: A (Very) Brief History and Definition of the Modern Romance Novel
Chapter 2: The Ever-Expanding World of Romance
Chapter 3: The Challenge of Formats 
Chapter 4: Subgenres of Romance 
Chapter 5: Tropes in Romance
Chapter 6: Romance and Readers Advisory
Chapter 7: The S Word: From Sweet to Steamy, Talking about Sex with Readers
Chapter 8: Programming and Author Visits
Chapter 9: Staying Current with the Genre


Robin Bradford

Robin Bradford has earned a BA and MA in English, an MS in Library Science, and a JD, but has found a home in building reader-focused, popular collections in public libraries. She was recognized as RWA’s 2016 Librarian of the Year, a Library Journal Mover & Shaker in 2018, and is addicted to books and dedicated to helping others discover a love of reading. She has worked with authors to help get their titles into these collections, worked with librarians to push for equal treatment of genre fiction, and worked with readers so that they can find their favorite authors on their library's shelves.

"Going beyond authors and titles, Bradford has suggestions on keeping current with the genre and handling patron complaints about spicier titles ... This is an excellent tool for those unfamiliar with the genre, but even experienced romance readers and professional readers’ advisors will find helpful information and reminders."
— Library Journal

"Romance expert Bradford's guide to the genre packs a ton of useful information into a slim volume ... Readers' advisors, whether they are new to the genre or seasoned citizens of Romancelandia, will find The Readers' Advisory Guide to Romance to be a supremely useful guide for helping romance readers in their communities."
— Booklist