When one type of book comes to dominate the market every other genre and preference in literature suffers, and I've never before seen the kind of market dominance which has been seized by supernatural romance novels, especially those involving vampires. Some of these novels are good. My wife and daughter read them and I've even read a few. But most are not. I suppose it's the Twilight effect, and like that series most of them are not terribly well written, imaginative or interesting. They're just the same old formulas dressed up with a little magic, fangs, and a cape. And it's not just that they're squeezing marginal or obscure works off of the shelves. Resnick's books have been performing well at Amazon by any standard, but if you look at the list of top-sellers in the Science Fiction and Fantasy genres, out of the top 100 books at least 65 fall into the sub-genre of supernatural romance. That's really an unprecedented share of the market. Like a lot of great science fiction authors, Mike Resnick used to make ends meet writing adult novels and romances. Maybe he'll have to don a pseudonym and purple pen again if he wants to stay on the shelves.
Of course, the key to the changes at my local Borders is that these novels are profitable. They sell regardless of the quality, on the strength of the cover and the name of the author and the popularity of the genre. It leaves us nerdy middle-aged guys grousing around the store muttering about the decline of literacy and ending up looking for solace in the non-fiction section or going home and thanking the Internet gods for the existence of Amazon where we can buy anything we want. I'm also thankful for print-on-demand which has let small, specialty publishers keep some excellent but less commercially viable authors in print in an unfriendly market. So for now I can still get my books, even if wandering the stacks and reading the flyleaves has become obsolete.
Clearly Internet shopping also plays a role in this. Publishers aren't working quite as hard to sell second-tier writers to the bookstores when they know they can sell to the established fan base through online outlets. Some publishers like Tor and Baen have become really masterful at this, building online communities and essentially mentoring new writers in the process.