Monday's HOT MIC

Monday's HOT MIC

The racial nose-counting at the New York Times is now completely out of hand.

Earlier this year, after having seen books like “Heroine Complex,” “Trade Me” and “Forbidden” fly off shelves at the Ripped Bodice, their Culver City, Calif., bookstore that specializes in romance fiction, Bea and Leah Koch got curious.

Seven of the 10 best-selling novels from the time of the store’s opening in March 2016 through the end of that year were written by nonwhite women. So why was the overall percentage of books that were written by nonwhite women and released by the major romance publishing imprints, like Avon Romance, at HarperCollins, and Berkley, at Penguin Random House, so low?

Leah and Bea, 25 and 27, decided to compile some data.

The result, released last week by the Ripped Bodice, is “The State of Racial Diversity in Romance Publishing.” It reports that of the romance novels published in 2016 by the 20 largest imprints in the romance genre, 7.8 percent were written by nonwhite authors.

Beverly Jenkins, a prolific author of historical and contemporary romantic suspense, is not surprised. “It’s indicative of every major industry, regardless of whether it’s publishing, academics, finance or government,” said Ms. Jenkins, who is black, in an interview earlier this week. “It’s a sign of how America treats people of color.”

Note that part of the premise of the story is completely contradicted by the illustration.