Well, good lord, how could have missed it? Pulp romantic fiction publisher Mills & Boon batted its century on 28 November, and I didn't even notice.
And yet it is such an amazing success story. Just look at the statistics! Mills & Boon report a UK book sale every three seconds, with 130 million sales globally every year. The books are translated, too, and published in 26 countries.
One thousand, three hundred Mills & Boon authors labor at their computers to produce four books each per annum, to meet an apparently insatiable demand for their work.
The economic downturn has actually worked in their favor -- sales of romantic fiction are rising as people look for happy endings. As editorial director Karin Stoecker reveals, "Generally speaking, we have been quite successful in gloomier economic times." When budgets are tight and newspaper headlines dire, "It's a value-priced entertaining escape from otherwise harsh realities."