The strong use of e-readers by erotica readers is not exactly new, but The Guardian has a story discussing the success of erotica publisher Ellora’s Cave and the huge numbers of erotica readers reading digitally. Ellora’s Cave was founded after no traditional publisher wanted to publish founder Tina Engler’s erotica, so she set up to self-publish on her own. She ended up tapping into a huge erotica-hungry readership who simply had not been served by traditional publishing.
We reported in 2006 that Ellora’s Cave was going strong with $5.6 million in sales, but it really took off in 2007 when Amazon introduced the Kindle and suddenly everybody had e-readers.
Emily Veinglory, an author of erotic romance who maintains a blog about the industry, believes that erotica fans gravitating to e-readers was also “just a function of necessity”.
“Traditional publishing,” she says, “simply would not meet this market.”
The kinds of trumped-up romance novels you see on the shelf at Barnes & Noble are meager things indeed to the savvy reader. “When I read a Harlequin Blaze” – the well-known publisher’s “sexiest romance series”, according to their website – “I think: Oh, please. That’s their idea of erotic fiction? It doesn’t scratch the surface of what erotic ebooks are willing to offer you. You just can’t get these things in print.”
Veinglory explains that the anonymity and privacy of e-readers can let people enjoy themselves without potentially exposing themselves to criticism from others. It’s just another way that self- and independent publishing offers greater freedom to both writers and readers, I expect.