Fri
Aug 2 2013 7:39am

Are You Tired of Billionaires?

Call it “billionaire burnout,” but many readers have said—both here and in social media—that they're tired of billionaire heroes. Yet the books keep selling, meaning there's still a lot of power behind this archetype.

So 'fess up: are you still loving the billionaire heroes, or are you so over them? And if you're over them, what kind of hero do you wish you could read about?

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22 comments
Wendy Lewis
1. wsl0612
YES I am very tired of the billionaire trope, it's an automatic avoid for me. I'd rather read romances where the H&H have to struggle with life, and all too often it seems as if there are few challenges when extreme sums of money are thrown around.
Jennifer Proffitt
2. JenniferProffitt
@wsl0612, but all the money means you can buy more angst. That's been my takeaway from all these billionaires. They're just very angst-ridden and not always in the best way!
Travelover
3. Travelover
No, I am NOT "tired of billionaire's". Anymore than I am tired of Dukes, Earls, Counts, Knights, Millionaires or other such men. That is the stuff dreams are made of IMHO - the "fantasy" that maybe - just maybe. I simply CANNOT understand the fascination with vampires, wearwolves, shape shifters, wizards, etc. Those aren't real people, and "I' cannot see myself with any of them. As far as wanting "reality" with a "poor" man, while it can be a lovely story and be inspiring, there's enough suffering and misery in life, I don't want the focus of my reading on that. I love my Calgon take me away reading.
Travelover
4. Beverley Kendall
I avoid billionaire books when it states they are billionaires in the title. I have no problem with a wealthy hero because I'm not trying to escape to a place where my there is financial struggling going on (for both). But when the title has billionaire in it, it usually an indicator that the story is going to be all about his wealth. That's something I don't care fore.
Jennifer Proffitt
5. JenniferProffitt
@Travelover, I think there is a lot of the fantasy element with billionaires. As a person who reads across the romance subgenres I get the appeal of the billionaire, of the vampire, and of the duke. I think the problem across all these genres is that it feels like that's your only option. Everyone's coming up with a billionaire story, everyone's marrying a duke, everyone's spending an eternity with a vampire. We celebrate the billionaire at H&H but also offer alternatives--like the "Not Your Usual Historical" column we've started. To show people who might be burned out in any of the subgenres that there are still things being published that are not so typical.

That being said, while I'm personally mentally exhausted of how many of XYZ are in any of these subgenres, I am looking forward to Beauty and the Billionaire and find myself still picking up the occasional billionaire book. Like any love story, I just have to find the right one.
Lori
6. LoriK
In the past I've read & enjoyed books with extremely wealthy heroes, but at this point yes, I'm sick of billionaires. Like wslo612, they've become an automatic avoid for me. That's doubly true if the billionaire is a dom with Secret Pain. FSM save me from groups of billionaire doms with secret pain.

Suspension of disbelief is part of being a reader and I've lost the ability to bring that to billionaire books. Paranormals are pure fantasy, so as long as the world building is good I can just go along for the ride. For more reality-based stories I may not know any X (cops, lawyers, doctors, ranchers, whatever) who are as hot as the hero, but there are a lot of X in the world and I'm fine with the idea that among the ones I don't personally know there are men who are really all that.

Even in this age of extreme income inequality there are only about 1k billionaires in the world and many of them turn up in the news on a reasonably regular basis. Hot Alpha dom, with or without secret pain, is not the description that comes to mind. Quite a few of them seem like actively horrible people who have made their money in ways that I find distasteful. That's not hero material for me and I've lost the ability to set that aside and play along with billionaire romances, so I don't read them.
Wendy the Super Librarian
7. SuperWendy
I'm only tired of them in the sense that they've taken over erotic romance with a BDSM slant. But since I'm kinda "over" the BDSM thing (unless we're talking Femdoms, and then I say MORE, MORE, MORE!), it's been pretty easy for me to avoid "billionaire burnout."

And I kinda want to lick that picture of Christian Bale. TMI? Maybe?
Wendy Lewis
8. wsl0612
Hmm, I guess I find more romance in reading about ordinary people sticking together through trials and tribulations (including lack of money) than the billionaire group. I guess I'm finding the fantasy of the billionaire and romantic angst to be TOO far-fetched for my mind. I work in a business that deals with those who have more money than they could reasonably spend in a lifetime, and most of them seem to fret so much about the money they don't enjoy life. And don't get me started on the marital issues I encounter that comes with the money, :-(
Jennifer Proffitt
10. JenniferProffitt
@WendyCrutcher, NEVER! Keep the "I want to lick him" comments coming, always ;) I agree with you on the Femdoms. I'm excited about this one book I'm about to start reading which is a comedic erotic with a Domme. So excited.

@LoriK, I agree that there are more of X and so it's easier to think "Yeah, sure there's a hot sheriff out somewhere in Montana with lickable abs" than "Yeah, sure, of the 20 billionaires in America at least 15 of them are regular practitioners of BDSM." As I said in my earlier comment, I still pick up the occasional billionaire but it really has to be the right one and it depends on if I've been reading a lot of them recently. Currently I'm reading and writing some lighter contemporaries because my brain got overloaded with so many dark angsty BDSM things. I love 'em, but everything in moderation!

@Aly P, yay! What are some of your favorites?
Travelover
11. Megaera
I still haven't forgiven Harlequin for making the Desire line all billionaires all the time. Am I the only one who remembers the days when Desire books were about nice, ordinary people?
Terri Rose
12. Terri L
I am 120% tired of billionaire books. I agree with what a few others pointed out. Billionaires seem skeezy in real life most of the time and so it is hard for me to not think of that when it is a main focus in a romance novel. I don't mind if it is thrown in there at the end or something but when it is a main focus of the story ...I can't read those. I also agree with what others have said about BDSM. There are a few really good ones out there but there are sooo many bad ones. I am sort of over the genre altogether. Yep Megaera- I remember when the Desire line used to be more than billionaires. I used to read them then! I now avoid those books altogether. I also used to read other harlequin books. I remember some quality work coming from them and I still keep a couple of my favorites. Quality defintely declined in my opinion!
Rakisha Kearns-White
13. BrooklynShoeBabe
I'm not tired of them, perse, because I've never been a big billionaire hero reader. In contemporary reads, I like the self-employed, comfortably well-off heroes--someone who veers towards the blue collar--ranchers, construction workers, etc. Maybe it's because I'm so middle class white collar--a family filled with civil servants and government workers. lol.
Wendy the Super Librarian
14. SuperWendy
@Megaera: The Desire line used to my favorite! The books they were chruning out in the late 90s and early 00s especially. But yeah - once they started to morph it into Harlequin Presents II: The American's Revenge I lost interest and moved on to other lines. These days I get my "normal" hero fix in SuperRomance and Special Edition.....
Julia Gabriel
15. juliagabriel
I'm tired of the billionaire jerk stories. But billionaires who aren't total jerks are still good for me. I recently read Jessica Clare's Beauty and the Billionaire and loved that one. It had a new (or old, depending on how you look at it) twist on the billionaire trope.
Lege Artis
16. LegeArtis
@juliagabriel - I couldn't agree more. I am not tired of billionaire heroes- I am tired of overused plot involving angsty biloinaire who behaves like asshole .
You know that movie Two Weeks Notice with Sandra Bullock and Hugh Grant? I need to read more those kind of billionaires.
Travelover
17. Torifl
I'm not tired of billionaires per say, but I am tired of the dominant, angsty creeper billionaire man paired with the virginal lip biting 20 something woman whose IQ drops with every orgasem.
Travelover
18. kui
I miss Rick Addison & Samantha Jellicoe novels by Suzanne Enoch. She was ahead of the game in the billionaire department. Maybe nows a good time to reissue the series so we can get book 5.
Jen W
19. dumblydore
Funny that you posted a pic of Bale as Bruce Wayne. He is the ONLY billionaire I will unconditionally tolerate. Anytime. Anywhere. ;)

On that note, I kind of don't get why there are still so few billionaire/cat burglar stories. At least the dynamic is on an equal level—unlike most billionaire/innocent du jour stories now. Seriously why is THIS not happening! Oh yeah, that's what fanfic is for.
Travelover
20. Female Scriblerian
I agree wtih Torifl
I'm not really sick of/bothered by billionaire but I'm totally annoyed by the lack of clever/witty/determined/successful heriones. Even moreso when the heroine in question is all of those things before she meets the hero and then proceeds to give it all up and move to his private island because he demands it thanks to his 'old-fashioned morals'. Argh
Heather Waters (redline_)
21. redline_
@dumblydore -- I am COMPLETELY in favor of more billionaire/cat burglar stories. (Or, hey, cat burglar/former cat burglar as in Nora Roberts' Sweet Revenge.)
Rosalind McGarry
22. kui
@dumblydore & @redline_ yes!! hence more rick & sam...is there rick & sam fanfic? im off to investigate.
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