In Malaysia alone, distributor Pansing brings in 72,000 copies of Mills &Boon annually. To get a context of how significant this is, rival distributor Penguin Books says that any title that breaches 1,000 copies in Malaysia is considered a bestseller.Some of our local literary luminaries toss in their opinions ... mostly disapproving. They might like to glance at the comments to my previous post on Mills & Boon and take note of the great affection many of my blog readers (book-lovers all!) feel towards these romances.
But even this giant is trumped by Malay romance novels, where individual titles can breach 150,000 copies. Local publishing giant Alaf 21, part of the Karangkraf group, sells 600,000 of these books a year, which general manager Norden Mohamed states makes up 60 per cent of its total turnover.
The worry though is that there must be a very large number of readers who don't move far beyond these books to discover what else fiction can do for them.
More about local romance novels here.