Jennifer Lyon

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010
Getting “Caught” Reading Romance

I saw on a loop somewhere that a clever author came up with a generic book cover that readers could print off her website, then fold it to fit over their paperbacks so they wouldn’t be embarrassed to be “caught” reading a romance.

I can’t believe I didn’t book mark the site so I could show you!  I think it is clever of the author. She was being sensitive to some of her reader’s concerns without judging.  I’m good with that!

But that sparked a discussion about whether or not readers are embarrassed by racy or suggestive romance covers. We KNOW sexy covers sell the books, so this is really an interesting dynamic. People buy them because of the cover but don’t want to be caught reading them.  Interesting psychology there!

Some people were convinced that people will switch to electronic readers to avoid embarrassment. Hmm, maybe for erotic? I don’t know,  I think a select few might but most people have stronger reasons for choosing electronic readers.

For me, most of the time I really don’t care.  On an airplane, I take whatever book I’m reading or appeals to me.

What about you all? Are there instances where you get embarrassed if you’re “caught” reading a romance?

13 comments to “Getting “Caught” Reading Romance”

  1. Dawn
    August 24th, 2010 at 6:38 am · Link

    I’ve never been embarrassed about what I read. At my last job, I read in the lunch room all the time on my breaks. I never cared who saw me reading romance. That’s what fills the majority of my personal library. Any one who wants to sneer at my taste in reading material can bite my @$$ :-P

    As for switching to an ereader, I like it for the convience. I can download books from any wi-fi hot spot, without having to go into the store if I don’t want or if I can’t get there. I have lots of books in the palm of my hand without having to worry about space. In the past month, I’ve downloaded almost 50 books (some of them free) and they take up less space than a single print book. I just wish I’d gotten one sooner :)

  2. B.E. Sanderson
    August 24th, 2010 at 8:18 am · Link

    I’ve never really thought about what people think of the books they see me reading. (Well, other than Husband. I never know what he thinks, but some of the racier covers I lay face down so he won’t be embarrassed.) I don’t often read out in public, but I figure if someone has a problem with what the cover looks like, they can try keeping their eyes to themselves. ;o)

  3. Val
    August 24th, 2010 at 8:36 am · Link

    Back when I was in Middle and High School I would make a “cover” for my books. I often read in class and a. Didn’t want to get in trouble for bringing inappropriate materials to school and b. Other students could be embarressing in their remarks.

    However, as an adult I could care less. I almost always have a book in my purse simply cuz who knows when the opportunity will present itself to get a little reading in and I don’t really care who sees the cover or whether they approve. I do tend to keep the racier covers away from hubby. Lets just say he doesn’t understand the appeal of romances and thinks I should read books with more “substance”. Keeping them out of his sight just helps in keeping the annoying comments to a minimum.

  4. Silver James
    August 24th, 2010 at 9:38 am · Link

    I remember reading on a plane one time before I got my Kindle. I don’t remember the cover but I’m sure it was something pretty racy. The guy next to me kept trying to read over my shoulder. I finally just offered him the book. He turned red, blustered, and stuttered, “I don’t read *those* books.” I smiled sweetly and replied, “Too bad. I happen to write *those* books and you’re really missing out on some amazing stories.” The flight attendant overheard me and said his girlfriend loved romances, did I have something with the name of my book? I had a copy of FATE in my bag so I pulled it out, signed it, stuck in a bookmark and handed it over. When I went back later to use the head, he was reading it!

    Yes, I read (and write!) romance and I’m dang proud of it! There are times I wish the ereaders had a way to display the covers on the front of them!

  5. Cecile
    August 24th, 2010 at 10:10 am · Link

    Okay… I am here to say that I think you all know me better that most… And know that I really do not care if people see my covers are not. The only time I do “shield” my covers is when young young children are around me… But other than that… I show my covers proudly! You are right, that is one of my reasoning for buying the book. Hubs will just say, “You reading your half nakked men books” and I proudly answer “YEP! See (and I hold it up for inspection and watch him roll his eyes)!!!”

    As far as my ereader… that is the one thing that does disappoint me, you can stare at the cover if it were a paperback. It is convenient for holding many books in one place…. but still, I love petting my covers. What, like you don’t do it!

    Have a great day witches!

  6. Jen Lyon
    August 24th, 2010 at 10:41 am · Link

    Dawn, I used to read at work all those years ago too.

    That’s the main reason I’d want an e-reader–all the books it can hold. If I traveled more, I would get one, I think.

  7. Jen Lyon
    August 24th, 2010 at 10:43 am · Link

    B.E., LOL on husband! Wizard knows what I read and write and doesn’t care. Now that I think about it, if it’s a really racy cover, I’ll move it before kids come over.

  8. Jen Lyon
    August 24th, 2010 at 10:46 am · Link

    Val, I used to read those books in high school, and no one said anything that I remember. I think I read before class though–the bus got us there about 40 minutes before class.

    That’s interesting that your husband thinks you should read books with more substance. Good for you in ignoring the advice! Although I’m willing to bet all of us read all different kinds of books!

  9. Jen Lyon
    August 24th, 2010 at 10:47 am · Link

    Silver, I LOVE your plane story! That is priceless!

    You can see the covers at all on e-readers? Hmm.

  10. Jen Lyon
    August 24th, 2010 at 10:49 am · Link

    Cecile, I love your website because it personifies your love of romance and your refusal to apologize for it! So yep, I’m pretty sure you don’t hide your covers–except when it’s just in good taste to do so, like around young children. Good for you!

  11. Erika
    August 24th, 2010 at 1:17 pm · Link

    Wow. I guess I never thought about it. Why would I shield my books? I love romance and I’m not ashamed of it. I can see why you might want to shield your covers if it has racy cover art and there are children around, but other than that, who cares what people think. They can all bite my @$$.

    Hope I’m not being too subtle…. 8-O

  12. Silver James
    August 24th, 2010 at 8:37 pm · Link

    Jen, I think the covers are there, in B&W (at least on the Kindle) but it’s programmed to open to the first page of “real” text like the prologue or Chapter 1 so a reader never sees the cover unless they go looking. I seem to remember looking at one of Jayne Castle’s covers in the Harmony series. I’m curious now. I’ll have to go look.

  13. Silver James
    August 24th, 2010 at 9:02 pm · Link

    Okay. Just checked Kin. Yes, you can access the cover but it’s a three step process and sometimes the cover art is there (in B&W) and sometimes it’s just the title/author/publisher minus the artwork. But like I mentioned, when you download a book and open it, it opens to the first “reading” page.

    But I do wish the ereaders had a “face” that would show the covers. :twisted:

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