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Thread: Market share of horror genre...?
August 8th, 2007, 03:40 PM #1
- Join Date
- Jun 2007
Market share of horror genre...?
Yes, I've hunted all over the Net; yes, I've been to the Publisher's Weekly web site. I've found the percentage of the overall publishing market for SF&F -- a tad over 7% -- but horror isn't even *listed*.
Scratch my curiosity bump. Anyone know? Or is it being lumped in with SF&F?
August 8th, 2007, 04:16 PM #2
I don't know, but I'll ask on a board that has a lot of horror authors as members.
August 8th, 2007, 04:21 PM #3
It's probabaly lumped in with SF&F or "other".
I've seen statistics where fantasy, sci-fi and horror works are counted as one area of fiction called supernatural fiction or speculative fiction.
August 8th, 2007, 04:35 PM #4
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- Jun 2007
Thanks, guys. Whatever the market share for horror is I'm pretty sure it's teeny-tiny.... but having this gestalt sense of I'm Pretty Sure is no substitute for seeing the actual figures. I prefer to audit my assumptions.
(I've heard from the SFWA that the % share for SF&F is slightly over 6%, and then Publisher's Weekly tells me it's 7.4% (for year 2000)... could it be the difference between the two? My off-the-top-of-my-head assumption was that it was about half that of SF&F...)
(I have a Pet Thesis as to why all three markets are tanking -- and yes, I read all three, if a bit infrequently anymore. But I'd like to get my facts straight before I go shooting my mouth off in public.)
August 8th, 2007, 05:09 PM #5
No definitive answer yet from the other board, but someone said that fewer horror titles nowadays have the word "Horror", and some books that used to be labeled Horror are now counted as Fiction, or maybe Fiction/Thriller.
There are definitely fewer horror sections in bookstores now.
August 8th, 2007, 06:50 PM #6
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- Jun 2007
I think a lot of 'em moved over to SF&F over the past ten-fifteen years. I think the two genres have become all tangled up with each other to the detriment of both.
For omnivorous readers, that's a godsend. For the general public, meaning a minimum of 93% of Americans, it's been.... not good. For me, it's gotten to the point where I don't dare select anything at random anymore without coming to forums like these and reconnoitering it beforehand. I've had too many unhappy reading experiences. That's where the subjectivity comes in.
It's the literary equivelant of going down to Blockbuster Video and taking kiddie porn, hardcore porn, softcore porn, snuff films, BDSM films, psychological thrillers, slasher flicks.... stripping all the ratings off... packaging them in nice attractive cover art... mixing them in with the Harry Potter/Star Wars movies... and NOT TELLING ANYBODY. And to foul the air even further, you can watch a movie that looks and feels like Battlestar Galactica for the first half hour, then -- at apparent random, in the name of Dark! Gritty! Realism! -- has a couple scenes from Wolf Creek dropped in the middle.
I remember when it was not so. I remember when Everything Is Possible! didn't mean We Can Get Away With Anything We Want. I remember when I could pick up an SF&F novel and go all the way through without running into ritual rapes or disembowelments or some form of graphic human degradation. (Actually, I can recall a time when the same was true for horror, what little I saw of it. Stephen King operates mostly between your ears, not in front of your eyes -- so when he does, it shocks you. That's what makes him great). Nowadays? Flip a coin.
I think the reason all three genres are going south is that the packaging and promotion is deceptive and a little truth in advertising wouldn't hurt -- maybe something as simple as an 'A' for Adult on the spine. It might even halt some of the bleeding. Romance novels hold 38% of the market. If the 7.4% figure *does* include horror, then Fabio is kicking Stephen King's, JK Rowling's and Robert Heinlein's combined arses five and six to one. Houston, we have a problem.... we're going the way of vacuum-tube radio manufacturers in the 60's, and blaming the customer for not buying our product will get us nowhere...
I do enjoy the occasional Gothic horror novel every so often. I've read some Stephen King. But I know what I'm getting when I go there. SF&F is a minefield anymore. It is littered with devices imported from the horror genre like so many cluster munitions. And people are staying away in droves. At serious risk of sounding like I'm projecting, I think a lot of em are simply getting burned.
That, without going into big histrionic lengths about it, is my Big Pet Thesis. But I want to be sure I have empirical grounds for thinking so before I open my big fat trap on a public forum and make everyone angry and convince them I'm some kind of projection-freak/prude and knocking their own unique brand of fun --
Uh oh. Too late.
Last edited by Rivenshield; August 10th, 2007 at 10:38 AM.
August 8th, 2007, 08:21 PM #7
No need to hide, Rivenshield. Nice post.
On another board, people are complaining about the same thing, only they're talking about movies. They're calling it "bait and switch". A recent movie -- "Bug" -- is an example. It's marketed as horror, which these days means torture porn more often than not, when it's actually a nifty little psychological drama. So people who expected Saw XIV were disappointed, and people who like psych dramas missed out -- unless they investigated first.
You're right. It's all marketing. When's the last time you saw a TV commercial for a book?
Anyways, while searching for numbers (didn't find them), I did find a site with lots of interesting factoids about publishing.
(Someday I'll figure out how to properly post a link on this board.)