Publishers need to 're-masculate' books if they want to get more men reading
Not aimed at men ... Tilly Bagshawe's Flawless
It has long been accepted by publishers that women buy – and read – more books than men, which is why so much effort goes into marketing those titles which are perceived to have female appeal. Even much-vaunted male writers have lost faith in their brethren – according to Ian McEwan, "when women stop reading, the novel will be dead".
And indeed, a survey of reading habits published this week confirmed this: through deconstructing reading behaviour, the researchers found that people's literary habits, in terms of the frequency with which they read, and the approach they take, do tend to fall along gender lines. Men, they concluded, are just not that into reading.
"Page Turners", according to the research, are avid readers – 48% of the women surveyed fell into this category, while only 26% of men showed equal enthusiasm. In contrast, 32% of men were burdened with the "Slow Worm" label accorded to those who read only one or two books a year, while only 18% of women fell into that category.
But how can the publishing industry exploit this potentially under-served market of Slow Worm men, transforming them into Page Turners and Double Bookers – or, at least, into Serial Shelvers, since they're fairly profitable for publishers as well?