Bridgerton Research: Gateways into Reading Romance

Feb 28, 2021

Almost as soon as Netflix announced Shonda Rhimes was producing an adaptation of Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton series for the streaming platform, speculation by romance fans and writers in “Romancelandia” optimistically anticipated an influx of awareness of and acceptance for the romance genre by non-romance readers in the general public.

Bridgerton (2020) was Netflix’s single biggest debut, with 82 million households watching at least 2 minutes within the first month of release, and Julia Quinn’s decades-old Bridgerton novels topped bestseller charts (Amazon, NYT, USA Today) in the weeks following its release. It seems clear that at least some viewers were persuaded to read the source text.

But: how likely are they to become romance readers?

I am hoping to gather some clues that may help answer this question.

About the Researcher

This research is being conducted by Andrea Martucci, an independent scholar and host of Shelf Love: a podcast about romance novels.

Goals of the Research

To understand how the Bridgerton adaptation on Netflix influenced viewers to start reading Julia Quinn's Bridgerton book series. This project will try to capture the beliefs these new readers had about romance novels before and after their first experience with a romance novel.

This research will also gather data from readers who currently read romance to help explain how genre fluency impacts perceptions of individual texts (and adaptations), and to try to explain what draws romance readers into the genre.

Intended Uses: I will be presenting this research at the Popular Culture Association (Romance section) in June 2021. It may also be developed into a paper, and will also be discussed on the Shelf Love podcast.

Candidates for Research:

All Candidates:

  1. You must be 18 years old or older (and legally able to consent to participate in this research)

By filling out one of my surveys, you:

  1. Agree that I may use your anonymized responses in my research (including, but not limited to, a presentation at the Popular Culture Association, 2021 conference)
  2. Agree that I may use your anonymized responses when speaking about this research on Shelf Love podcast or other media.

“New” to Romance: Watching Bridgerton on Netflix Drew You Into Reading the Bridgerton Novels

  1. Prior to reading books from the Bridgerton series by Julia Quinn, you read fewer than 5 novels you would call "romance novels" and you did not identify as a "romance reader" prior to this experience.
  2. You chose to read the Bridgerton books as a direct result of learning about or watching the Bridgertons on Netflix.

If the above applies to you, please fill out THIS SURVEY.

Already a Romance Reader Prior to Bridgerton:

  1. You consider yourself fluent in romance novel conventions based on reading romance novels.
  2. It is not necessary for you to have read or watched Bridgerton to participate.

If the above applies to you, please fill out THIS SURVEY.

Thank you for participating in this research! Any questions can be sent to andrea@shelflovepodcast.com