Thursday, August 28, 2008

Women are 80% of the Fiction Market

An interesting article at NPR discusses the fiction gender gap. Everyone seems to agree that women read more fiction than men, but nobody is quite sure why. Some speculate that “women are more empathetic than men, and possess a greater emotional range—traits that make fiction more appealing to them.” Others suggest the “fiction gap” begins “in early childhood” because “girls can sit still for much longer periods of time than boys.” Who knows what the real answer is.

According to the article, surveys conducted in the U.S., Canada, and Britain show that “[m]en account for only 20 percent of the fiction market.” British author Ian McEwan has proven the same point in a less scientific fashion:
[McEwan] and his son waded into the lunch-time crowds at a London park and began handing out free books. Within a few minutes, they had given away 30 novels. Nearly all of the takers were women, who were “eager and grateful” for the freebies while the men “frowned in suspicion, or distaste.” The inevitable conclusion, wrote McEwan in The Guardian newspaper: “When women stop reading, the novel will be dead.”

4 comments:

S. Krishna said...

I saw this article...I couldn't believe it until I thought about my husband and how he wrinkles his nose a bit at all the fiction I read!

Kathleen said...

Well my first thought was that this was sooooo right. My dad is strictly a nonfiction reader- he just smiles and nods and runs away when I mention "Harry Potter" or "Lord of the Rings"....


But aren't there tons of science fiction and fantasy guys out there? There have to be!

Jonathan said...

I believe Jonathan Franzen said much the same thing in an interview after THE CORRECTIONS was published. I am surprised that the percentage is so high.

bermudaonion said...

Well, first of all, I think women read more than men, period. Kathleen, my son took a class on sci-fi and fantasy in college and I asked him if there were any girls (because I thought that was a male genre) in it and he said the class was about half and half.