Last night I stopped in to my local BDalton bookstore to browse the shelves. I didn’t plan to buy anything (and sure enough, I walked out empty handed!) but wanted to see what was on the shelves. I was particularly interested to see if there were any Ellora’s Cave or New Concepts Publishing books on the shelves.

My eye was first caught by a book displayed prominently on the endcap of one of the romance aisles (there are two aisles or romance). It was a tradesize book, title and author unremembered by me, but it did say “erotic romance novel” quite visibly on the front. I didn’t recognize the title or author (clearly, since I can’ remember them now!) and when I looked, I didn’t recognize the publisher either- Magic Carpet Books. Interesting, but no thanks. I’m not sinking 15 dollars or so into an author and publisher I’ve never heard of.

Off I go to the trade size/hardback section of the romance aisle, where I look to see if there are any Ellors’s Cave books. I spot two. Yep, a grand total of two. The Best of Jaid Black and The Emporess’s New Clothes by Jaid Black. No NCP titles in sight. However, my attention is drawn to the fact that there are around 15 different titles and multiple copies of each book from…Magic Carpet Books. Who in the heck is Magic Carpet Books? And why are they taking up so much shelf space in BDaltons and neither of the bigger publishers can be found? I had a cranky baby (and a patient but bored husband) so I didn’t get time to ask the bookstore employees.

So this morning, I decide to research Magic Carpet Books. Guess what? There isn’t much to find. They don’t have a website. There is very little info on them to be found in a quick Google search. Here’s what I have:

From The Road to Romance, an article from August 2004:

Spotlight on Magic Carpet Books
By Susanna Carr © 2004

With the increase of trade-size paperbacks in the romance section at your local bookstore, you might have come across some titles by Magic Carpet Books. What does this small press publish? Is it erotica with romantic elements, erotic romance or romantic erotica? “It’s all of the above, of course,” says Major LaCaritilie, editor of Magic Carpet Books. “The sex is graphic, no silly euphemisms are used to describe the erotic action, but the action always develops into the special love between one man and one woman.”

This publisher takes a different approach to erotic romance by acquiring romance stories by bestselling erotica authors. Marilyn Jaye Lewis, who pens erotica for Blue Moon, wrote WHEN THE NIGHT STOOD STILL and WHEN HEARTS COLLIDE for Magic Carpet. Maria Isabel Pita has written several Magic Carpet erotic romances while also writing S&M, bondage and CP erotica for Chimera Publishing. Alison Tyler has written erotica for many publishers including Black Lace, but wrote an erotic romance entitled BLUE VALENTINE for Magic Carpet.

“Our readers are people, primarily women, who enjoy well-written books,” LaCaritilie says. “Our readers enjoy erotica and appreciate not having it divorced from romance.”

These trade-size paperbacks cost around USD $10. They can be found at Barnes and Noble, Borders and select bookstores. What can readers expect from this line that they can’t find elsewhere? According to Major LaCaritilie, “Extremely well-written romance enhanced by graphic descriptive sex.”

Bio: Susanna Carr writes sexy romances for Kensington Brava. She is a contributing author for HOW TO BE A “WICKED” WOMAN (8/04) and MERRY CHRISTMAS, BABY (10/04). For more articles and reading recommendations, visit www.susannacarr.com.

And this bit on the publisher from Karen Fox:

Magic Carpet

Magic Carpet, a small publisher in Connecticut, is seeking erotic romance writers.

In business for 2 years now, they are distributed solely through Barnes & Nobles nationwide. They publish only erotic romance, in trade paper, not mass market. Until now, writers have been by invitation only from the erotica genre. But now they are actively seeking new (female) writers.

Works must be explicitly erotic, but stay 100% within the heterosexual romance formula strong female characters, admirable male characters, no superfluous scenes or extra characters, no degrading sex.

Approx. 75,000 words; 256 pages. Rate of pay info is given out only by the publisher.

Email the publisher at RKASAK@aol.com

Gee, very informative. Can someone tell me who Magic Carpet is and why their books are taking over the shelves at my local BDalton? It seems odd to me that a publisher doesn’t have a website. And that advertising or presence in the romance community seems…limited. I know through my searches that some of their books have been reviewed my some of the review sites but other than that, I haven’t seen any chatter on them. Anyone?

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