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The 2019 Ripped Bodice Diversity in Publishing Report is Out And The News Is Still Not Good

The Ripped Bodice, the country’s first all-romance bookstore (located in Los Angeles) has published its fourth annual diversity in romance report, and the news is still pretty dismal.

Sisters Bea and Leah Koch surveyed 18 publishers of romance and only one had improved the number of books written by Authors of Color this past year. The report focuses on the race of the authors being published by both the Big Five publishing companies and independent romance publishers, but does not cover indie authors. According to this most recent survey, for every 100 books published by the leading romance publishers in 2019, only 8.3 % were written by people of color. That compares to 7.7% in 2018, 6.2% in 2017 and 7.8% in 2016, which is an increase of 0.4% industry-wide over four years. Seventy-eight percent of major romance publishers still had less than 10% of the books they published in 2019 written by people of color. However, seven out of ten of The Ripped Bodice’s bestsellers were by diverse authors in 2019.

The bookstore owners explained that they had started the survey in 2016 “because the romance genre prides itself on being a feminist haven where women writers have finally found a place to express positive stories that center female experiences.” However as seen above, there is still little improvement in these figures

Ripped Bodice Bestsellers 2019

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

Rafe by Rebekah Weatherspoon

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors by Sonali Dev

A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas

I Love You So Mochi by Sarah Kuhn

Beard with Me by Penny Reid

The Bride Test by Helen Hoang

Tell Me How You Really Feel by Aminah Mae Safi

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