On the Shelves

This summer we Harlequin Historical authors heard that our books would be shelved with the single title books at the Barnes and Noble stores. This was terrific information, because we often feel that some readers would never think to find us at the Harlequin displays, usually separate from the alphabetical shelving.

Last week I checked at my local Barnes and Noble. Harlequin Historicals were, indeed, not to be found with the other Harlequin books. Instead, they were shelved at the very end of the alphabetical single titles, down on the bottom shelf.

I’m not sure if this is an improvement….

So my questions are:

1. Where do you buy Harlequin Historicals and where are they shelved in your stores?
2. If you couldn’t find them in your store, would you ask for them?
3. Where do you think is the best place for them?

Inquiring minds want to know!

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13 years ago

Honestly, as an author whose work is shelved spine out in the single title section, I’ve often coveted Harlequin’s special shelf space. Your readers know exactly where to find you. Your lovely covers are usually on full display.

Because I’d happily swap spaces with you, I’m not sure this change is a benefit to you. Do you have any way to express your wishes?

Jane Austen
13 years ago

Since I got my Kindle I rarely go into bookstores anymore. I do most of my shopping online and rely heavily on this blog and my amazon.com recommendations to find books. I also have a friend in the know, Valerie, who helps me find Regencies.

I do always love to check out Target and their Breakout Books, which are normally more chick lit than historical romances. I really enjoy finding new authors, which is one reason I love Sundays on the Risky blog because it introduces me to new authors.

Diane Gaston
13 years ago

It seems to me that now we are even harder to find. I just hope that our readers persist. The booksellers had a hard time figuring out where the books were, too.

13 years ago

I buy mine direct from Harlequin now. I started doing so because I couldn’t always find the books at the store. Then I discovered they were actually more affordable through Harlequin online and I could buy them a month earlier. At the store, I was always at the mercy of the buyer. None of the stores I visited would offer all of the books available each month. If it isn’t a Harlequin, then I go to Amazon where it’s also more affordable than the store. If I find something at the store that catches my attention, I’ll go home and add it to my wish list at Amazon.

13 years ago

The Borders near my house still has the Harlequins in separate racks, so they are easy to find. Grouping them together does rather emphasize the repetitive titles, however, although that is not an issue for the Historicals.

Interestingly, just this week my library branch stopped putting the PB books in separate circular racks by genre but now has them in large bookcases, with all the book genres together alphabetically by author. My hope is that people who wouldn’t dream of looking at a separate romance rack will discover wonderful romance authors now that all the PB are mingled. OTOH, with the books all filed together, it’s a bit harder to find the new ones. The inventory doesn’t change often (a victim of tight budgets), and I now have to look through far more books to find books I haven’t read yet.

13 years ago

Funny you bring up this topic today, Diane. I recently bought some HQN Historicals and noted that I couldn’t find them with the other HQN’s. Unless you know the author’s name, I think it makes it even harder to locate the books now. Which is a shame because HQN Historicals is a great line and one I am targeting.

WalMart gives HQN Historicals better space. I’ve not had much luck locating them in B & N or BAM. Target displays them well too.

Jane O
Jane O
13 years ago

I must confess that I only discovered the existence of the Harlequin Historical line quite recently and pretty much by accident. My library has them and the other series in a special section of series and I thought everything in that section was about the secret babies of assorted billionaires by their virginal secretaries. Then a title with a title caught my eye as I walked past, I stopped, and lo and behold, there was a whole section of historicals waiting for me.
I wish your books were shelved in the single title section. My local Borders doesn’t seem to carry HQNs at all, or if they do, they tuck them somewhere I can’t find. Shelved in a special section all your own may be fine for readers who already know you, but I would think you would find new readers far more easily among the browsers in the single title. section.

Diane Gaston
13 years ago

Here’s something even more confusing. HQN is the name of Harlequin’s single title line so there are other Historicals out there that are HQN but not “Harlequin Historicals”

The HQN books are single titles, shelved alphabetically.

Judy, I do think eHarlequin is the way to go. They discount so that the cost of the book plus shipping is no more than you would pay in a store.

Jane Austen, I get mine in Kindle form too now. I love my Kindle!

Jane O, I’m delighted your library is carrying the Harlequin Historicals!

My local Target and Walmart, both nearly in walking distance from my house, don’t carry the Harlequin Historicals.

Amanda McCabe
13 years ago

The only place to get the HHs locally is at Wal Mart (and I have to get there super early in the month, because they don’t stock very many copies!). None at B&N, but maybe I just haven’t found them?

It’s a toughie, for sure. We want the regular readers to be able to find us, but we want to catch new readers, too, and show them the books are just as good and varied (or more so, with the wide range of time periods!) as single titles, despite the series appearance. How to get the word out there???

Barbara Monajem
13 years ago

Well… I checked out my local B&N this afternoon. They had the Harlequin Historicals on the Harlequin displays as usual… but the historicals were at the bottom. Sigh. And there were only two (the latest by Deb Marlowe and Michelle Willingham). This may not be the norm, though.

At my local Borders Express, where I shop most often, the historicals are with the other series romances, but they’re more likely to be in the middle, and there’s generally a better selection.

Diane Gaston
13 years ago

Thanks, Barbara. I’m heartened that some B&N’s are still keeping the HHs on the category display.

Amanda, remember when we had to dig out your book from my Walmart. No wonder they stopped carrying them; nobody would be able to find them if they were stored BEHIND the shelf.

Patricia Barraclough
Patricia Barraclough
13 years ago

I buy books where ever I can find them. If I’m having a hard time finding something specific, I’ll ask a sales person. If the are going to put the Harlequin Historicals on the bottom shelf, that isn’t a very good placement. It would be much better to be on the top shelf at the beginning of the section or a section in the H’s just for all the Harlequins.

Lynz Pickles
13 years ago

I buy mine at Chapters or Walmart, and they’re always shelved in the Harlequin racks. I know eHarlequin’s great and all, but I love bookstores. Also, I generally buy only one or two books from Harlequin at a time, and buy books from other publishers with them, so the bookstore makes more sense. Even Walmart’s pretty handy that way. That being said, neither Chapters nor Walmart – the ones I go to, at least – order every HH that comes out each month, and don’t usually order them in large quantities. I once had to go to the Square One Chapters to get an HH. (For me, that’s a drive of twenty minutes on a really good traffic day. On a bad day…)

The Square One expedition taught me something interesting, though – the best way to shelve HH’s, imo. During their release month, that Chapters shelves them in the Harlequin racks. Once the next month’s releases come in, the HH’s are moved to the shelves. They’re in a category section, so they’re not exactly with the single-titles, but you only notice that if you really look. It’s the best of both worlds!

Diane Gaston
13 years ago

Patricia, bless you for asking the booksellers to help you find a book! It is something I don’t think most people would do; they might just buy another book that caught their eye.

Lynz, thank you for driving 20 minutes to find a HH. I like what the Square One store does. A Borders Express used to keep HHs on the shelf beyond their release month; I’m not sure if they are still doing that.

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