Mills and Boon
a publishing company founded in 1909 by Gerald Mills and Charles Boon, both of whom had previously worked for Methuen. They quickly established themselves on a successful basis, with Hugh Walpole, P. G. Wodehouse, and Jack London among the authors on their early lists. During the 1920s their sales declined, with the result that the company began to concentrate on supplying the commercial circulating libraries with light romances, a strategy which determined their emergence as Britain's chief purveyors of such fiction. Mills and Boon also published educational and technical books from 1961 to 1980, when they sold their nonfiction list and concentrated exclusively on romances. In association with Harlequin Enterprises, Toronto, they issue some 500 new titles each year with sales reaching hundreds of thousands of copies annually. Their stories tend to be closely aligned with prevailing contemporary assumptions concerning gender relations and desirable modes of social and material gratification; they have therefore come to constitute a useful index to socio-cultural developments since the 1920s. See also romantic fiction.