So, as we do around here, we’ve been talking lately about what book categories are thriving and which are tanking. As Jane mentioned in her post earlier this week, categories wax and wane (and so do we). The other day, during a staff meeting, Jane and I were fondly remembering the self-help boom of the late ‘80s to late ‘90s. All those Women Who Love Too Much and the Men Who Find Them Annoying bestsellers, along with the mystical/empowerment titles like Women Who Run with Iron John, made for fat royalty statements back in the day.
Not so much any more. Aside from the inspirational/health/nutrition/lifestyle books by any of the Real Housewives and the occasional Let Me Tell You How You Can Fix You book on the New York Times list, the self-help category seems sadly quiet at the moment. We are clearly in need of help as a culture—individually and collectively, and this piece in The Hairpin points out the kinds of situations some of us could use guidance with.
All kidding aside, though, what happened to the self-help category? Why are those books not making the kind of splash they did 15 or 20 years ago? Certainly, we’re not any more well-adjusted.
So, really, what happened? Serious question here, why do you all think that the self-help bubble went bust?