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Who is reading romance novels?

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Romance readers by the numbers
Nielsen breaks down romance readers by the numbers.
Courtesy of Nielsen

Romance novels still get the literary side-eye from many readers, but new numbers from Nielsen show that one in three fiction books sold are romance.

Of course, romance is a broad genre: A wide variety of subjects fall into it, from Christian-focused, chaste love stories to erotic vampire fantasies. There are series that focus entirely on Navy SEALS or the Amish. And there are the romances that go mainstream and are adapted into films, like the novels of Jojo Moyes and Nicholas Sparks.

The Nielsen statistics show that romance readership remains largely white and female. Only 16 percent of romance readers are male.