Harlequin the Romance Novel Empire Celebrates a 60 Year Milestone

June 12, 2009 § Leave a comment

The empire made of romance and dirty secrets celebrates its 60th anniversary and I can’t wait to investigate. The book series was a staple in my mother’s collection of must-haves.

In 1949 the romance novel series was born in Canada as a way to keep Winnipeg’s Advocate Printers presses running. Their first publication was The Manatee, by U.S. author Nancy Bruff. It was sold for only 50 cents a copy.

The publisher had its share of turbulence with tax issues in the 50’s but the publisher also reaped a great amount of milestone successes with book sales. Harlequin’s unconventional placement in supermarkets and drugstores proved to be one of their most profitable marketing strategies, reaching their target audience – women. Studies show that women read more than men, hence their target market still being mainly female.

Harlequin took off in the 80’s with the distribution of their “Temptation” line which was tailored for younger women. This was the era of seductive, sexually suggestive cover illustrations, “bodice-ripping book covers” – the hallmark of the Harlequin brand.

Harlequin Enterprises went global in the 1990’s, translating their books into 19 languages and distributing in more than 100 countries. “Harlequin’s operating profit rose to $64.4 million in 1990.” Soaring book sales were not affected by the U.S. recession of the 90’s.

Harlequin Romance Novels are now the leader in romance publishing. 2009 marks their 60th year in business and has taken to the web with eharlequin.com. Users of their online books are repeat visitors perhaps taking a mid day voyage to paradise with Fabio via their free ebook downloads.

For more information about their sixtieth year anniversary go to http://www.harlequincelebrates.com or go to your local Borders or Barnes & Noble.

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