Especially these days with an increasing number of books that blend genres and authors that write in multiple genres, in a brick and mortar store, it can be hard to decide which section to search for your favorite titles. Take Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake series. Depending on the bookstore, I’ve seen it in the science fiction, horror, and romance sections. Particularly among the romance and the f/sf genre, the lines have blurred. That’s why we have so many subgenres: steam punk romance, mystery romance, thriller romance. Urban fantasy is often half mystery. Then you have others like Stina Leicht’s Of Blood andHoney, which can currently be found in the f/sf section as a historical urban fantasy. But at the 2011 Con DFW, she said that it almost was categorized as literary fiction. Bookstores have only so much shelf space and cannot afford to put most genre blending authors in multiple sections, but that’s not the case with eBooks.
EBooks have been stretching and breaking the “rules” of traditional print for years.
Take a look at Amazon or even small press eBook publishers like Lyrical Press. For a single title that could fit multiple genres or subgenres, it can be shown under multiple categories. Verses a brick and mortar store where subgenres are usually never separated out from the overall genre and when authors are usually shelved in only one category, this system makes shopping for specific interests far easier.
Of course, with ever larger online storefronts, including those that sell print books, this same ability is possible. However, I think the eBook’s nature of crossing boundaries, of having one foot in the book world as we knew it and the other in a new country of electronic possibilities, it has greater power than ever to break down or at least make more fluid the once rigid genre borders. I would offer that the past few years with such a surge in genre blending books is evidence of that. While not completely tied together, I suggest a correlation in the rise of eBooks and the increase of cross genre stories in the market.
What do you think?