Jul 26 2012 8:37am

Fifty Shades of Faith: Religious E-Books Selling Better, Too!

A report in Smart Money finds that e-books aren’t just encouraging readers to get their smut on—they’re also encouraging sales of religious books, too. Last year, publishers of religious books reported revenue growth of 7% last year, to $1.45 billion, mostly due to e-books sales.

The theory is similar to why books such as Fifty Shades are driving erotica e-book sales:

“Erotic titles with racy covers are believed to sell better as e-books because the technology removes the embarrassment of toting them around in public—and the same may be true of spiritual titles, experts say.”

Why are we all so embarrassed about what we’re reading, anyway?

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1. wsl0612
The problem is that the general perception for so many years is that one who reads romance is a desperate woman. Who wants to be viewed as such? And as for erotica, then you may suffer from inappropriate comments if the public realizes what you're enjoying. I don't know why religious romance readers would have any issues. Maybe the real answer here is that the authors and publishers are doing better with publicity via the internet. Once those "cookies" get your name out there.....
Marian DeVol
2. ladyengineer
@wslo612, you may right about public opinion equating reading romance to desperation in the relationship arena.

It may be the racy covers (even mainstream romance has fairly evocative covers, let alone erotica). I generally don't mind being seen reading almost anything, but draw the line at erotica. Reading erotica or even such popular erotic romance like Fifty Shades in public, feels like I'm advertising that I have to get my thrills vicariously because I'm not getting them personally. It may also be that I don't want to publicly admit that I'm drawn to something beyond vanilla.

Which may, in effect, prove @wslo612's point. ;->

Regarding religious fiction, I think the eBook format and Internet availability may manifest a broader distribution. Prior to this, such fiction was likely hard to find outside of the local Christian/religious bookstore. Barnes&Noble, Borders, Waldenbooks, and B Dalton probably didn't carry much of it.

I think this electronic availability may also have influenced the current explosion of erotic offerings. It has done so much in this area that we are seeing much more of it in print in the local Barnes&Noble.
3. Gidge
I believe the distribution and reputation arguments both work for both genres.

I know that my ereader has increased romance novel availability for me greatly. I don't have to go out of my way to a bookstore or library to get my romance novels now, and I also enjoy the privacy that comes with my ambiguous little nook cover.

For religious romance novel readers, the increased distribution is a big plus, but privacy can also be important too. Religious romance novels are *still* romance novels, and an assumption exists that if you are reading such things, not only are you getting your thrills vicariously, but you're a prude to boot. Depending on the environment, it can lead to just as many rude comments as as the latest bsdm tome.

For that matter, any genre possesses its own set of haters and snide remarkers, and ereaders are great for denying them their pesky verbal ammunition.
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