My theory, and it's nothing new, is that mystery and romance fiction are big sellers because they rely on formula. We enjoy reading a mystery or romance because we have read something similar before. Usually, we can rely on the crime being solved and the couple being reunited. And like science fiction and fantasy, crime novels allow us to experience vicariously our greatest fears. Romance provides fodder for fantasies we would not indulge in everyday life.
Perhaps the comfort romance oilers accounts for the incredible market romance fiction enjoys. While arguably the most reviled of literary genres, romance is without doubt the most lucrative. Romance novels generate billions of dollars worth of sales each year. Romance novels are certainly undervalued by the literary mainstream.
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