Romney, Rebecca's The Romance Novel in English: A Survey in Rare Books, 1769-1999 is now available both in a limited edition signed hardcover of 500 copies (TypePunch Matrix) and as a free downloadable pdf.
I was lucky to have a preview of this before it went online. The survey is a sales catalogue: the hope is that a university library will purchase all the lots and thus instantly acquire a significant romance collection. If Romney's hopes are realised, this will obviously be a signal that romance is being increasingly recognised within academia. Even if it is not, however, the publication of this catalogue is an important indication of the (literal as well as literary and cultural) value inherent in these novels.
It's also an interesting and quick overview of the development of the genre and its many subgenres.