Jane Austin's Books To Be Marketed As Classic Romances

“In May, Headline publishers will issue her six novels as “Classic Romances,” with glossy pastel covers depicting dashing dandies and bonneted Regency beauties, Reuters reported yesterday from London. “Our aim would very much be every airport bookshop, every supermarket,” said the Headline fiction editor Harriet Evans. Complaining that Austen’s novels had always been marketed in a dry, academic way, she said: “It is such a shame, as she is the archetypal popular novelist. She is the godmother of modern women’s fiction.”

Here’s my take on this: First, I’m a huge Austin fan. Hers are books I read again and again and have for twenty five years now. I like that she’d be marketed to be read by a wider audience. AND, well, I write romances so it’s not like I think it’s a shameful thing to be classified as such.


Her books aren’t romances. Certainly they have romantic elements in them but they aren’t about the romance. They’re about the lead character’s struggle and journey and most importantly, her strength, wit and intelligence in achieving her goal. I disagree with the London chapter of the Jane Austin society who say that repackaging her books as romance will be “dumbing them down” because hey, I’m not dumb and my readers aren’t dumb and I’m sick of the whole patronizing sneers about romance in general.

Still, this doesn’t make Jane Austin a romance novelist.

3 comments to “Jane Austin's Books To Be Marketed As Classic Romances”

  1. Millenia Black
    January 21st, 2006 at 10:33 am · Link

    Niche marketing is what it’s all about now. Publishers will do anything to carve one out. Even mess with the mother of “women’s fiction” – Jane Austen. Categorizing as romance isn’t all that bad. At least they’re not restricting her marketability to Brits, simply because she’s one.

  2. KimW
    January 22nd, 2006 at 8:26 am · Link

    I’ve never read a book by Jane Austen. I have, though, seen a few of the movies based on her stories.

  3. lili
    January 23rd, 2006 at 7:47 am · Link

    I always cringe when I hear Jane Austen’s work described as romance. People who do that are missing the ultimate point, her work is about life and people, and they obviously haven’t read her more obscure works.

    Some think the Bronte’s are romance also, and that not only makes me cringe, but it also makes me scream.