Saturday, May 16, 2009

Book Rambling: Anthologies

I've started wondering about the various anthologies shelved under "Romance" and people's reading habits. Admittedly, this is because I've ended up buying three or four of them, but I'm curious.

When you get an anthology such as Love At First Bite, or On the Prowl, do you buy it for one of the stories/authors it contains, or do you get it for all of them? Or, sometimes, does it vary?

I'm finding that it varies. Usually I buy fantasy anthologies where there are a larger number of stories in the book, and they are centered around a theme, such as the Valdemar and Darkover anthologies, Catfantastic, or the Sword and Sorceress series. In that case, I'm buying it to read all of the stories, no matter who the author is. Alternatively, I tend to go for the collections of short stories by one author, such as the L.E. Modesitt volume Viewpoints Critical, or Elizabeth Moon's collected short story books (Phases, Lunar Activity and Moon Flights).

However, lately I've branched into the romance anthologies. I bought Dead After Dark and Love At First Bite for the Sherrilyn Kenyon stories they contained, never having read any of the other authors in the volume. The same thing for On The Prowl (in that case it was the Patricia Briggs story). However, I intended to read the other stories the books contained as well, as an introduction to the authors and their styles. It hasn't happened yet, although I was pleasantly surprised to discover the J.R. Ward story in Dead After Dark, after I'd gotten into the Black Dagger Brotherhood series.

The number of similar anthologies available has got me wondering though, who they're intended for/marketed to, and also the reading habits of romance/urban fantasy readers. Do they figure that if you like one of the authors in that anthology that you'll probably be fans of the others? Or is the assumption simply that people who like one author will buy a book just for that short story, and never read the rest?
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