Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Do Women Read More Than Men?

I have been checking into a few things recently, including my demographic, which are any readers, but probably focuses more on a younger audience and those who grew up playing RPG’s that are now in their 30’s, 40’s and 50’s by now. So, I recently tallied information regarding who is buying my books, and I get a pretty fair split of men and women. But, for the most part, I see women…everywhere! On any social media-- on twitter, on Facebook, writing blogs and of course, the newest sensation: Pinterest. As a matter of fact, I joined Pinterest about a month ago to see what it was all about and 95% of my followers are females. Just a fact there, nothing more and something I will jump into later this year that will focus strictly on social media.

So, I started delving into this a bit deeper. I found a few articles discussing this very subject. One was by Lia Fairchild, another by Eric Weiner and another by Basma Aal. There is some interesting information on some of these, even though one is quite a few years old. It still begs the question: What will it take to get men reading more? Are they only reading Maxim and sports magazines? I’d like to think not. I aimed my book specifically at men AND women by writing about both genders in fantasy and making my women exceptionally tough and gritty. I know that Harry Potter seemed to get males reading again, though younger in age, but males nonetheless. I have seen a few other splits that suggest a 75/25 split of Women/Men readers. Can this possibly be true?

In closing, I simply ask you what you think. If you find any data to support it, feel free to link it!

See you in Wothlondia! Cheers!

Please visit MY HOME PAGE to enjoy an extended reading experience, see direct links to purchase Covenant of the Faceless Knights and to see what else Ashenclaw Studios, LLC has in store in the future!

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  1. of the men I know (offline), the only one who reads is my Dad. Even my brother doesn't and he grew up in a reading household.

    My observation of the men I know is they'd rather play games. I got my husband reading a book when we were on holidays. He riopped through Book 1 and halfway through book 2 when we came home. He never read anymore. I asked him why, and he said he enjoyed it, but if he has time to read, that's time he could use to play x-box, and he'd rather play x-box.

  2. Chris, my husband, bucks the trend. He's always been an avid reader, and reads a lot more than I do. I can't seem to find the time for more reading! I do OK though, several books a week. My eldest son reads quite a lot, but he enjoys xbox too. Daughter Caiti is always glued to a book or her Kindle. Ten year old Ruadhri loves books and is as happy with them as with his computer.

  3. Ciara, thanks for the comment and welcome aboard! I was also afraid you would say that, and knowing the guys that I do, that sounds about right. Unfortunately, we are enticed or seduced, if you will, by the pretty pictures and graphics of video games. And it seems to be men more so than women. Your summation is along the lines of the point that men will read if they have noting better to do!

    I fell into this gaming trap for a few years, too, and the allure of video games is certainly one major 'obstacle' in the lives of men (and women for that matter). Not only does it consume your reading time, it consumes time that you would be doing anything productive at all! That is unacceptable and sad if it is true. I hope that we see more testosterone-fueled beings picking up books in the future to dispel the stereotype! Thanks again for stopping by and I look forward to reading future posts. Cheers!

  4. Steph, I am glad that your family is fueling the book market! It is refreshing to hear a household that reads. If I was to guess, the traditional person in the United States comes home from work, performs whatever 'duties' they need to and then plop in front of the TV the rest of the evening. I am not saying that it cannot be good once in a while to give yourself a night of vegetation, but not every night! I am guilty of the above on occasion, but for the most part, I eat dinner, spend some time with my wife and then I am back to 'work', blogging, researching, reading or writing. Thanks for the pep-talk and hope all is well at home!

  5. I've made a project of getting brother (age 14) to read. I buy him the first book a series and if he doesn't read it in the allotted time he pays for the book. I managed to do this only once, I bought him the first book of Animorphs. He finished it in two nights and cleared the library of the sequels. We're going to give him The Icewind Dale Trilogy as a gift.

    Little brother needed to find the right books, but I think there are people who just don't like reading. Once I was reading Robin Hobb and a student(man) stopped to chat with me. At point he asked, "How can you read such a thick book? I always forget what happens in the beginning.". I love getting immersed in thick books XD

  6. Hmmmm. Maybe it's a question of introversion and extroversion. Men are taught to be extroverted and women allowed to be more introverted. Studies show that introversion leads to more frontal lobe activity and desire for "alone" time...leading right into singular activities such as reading books. Maybe it's society pushing men to be out and about and go-getting? Or wait, women are chasing that role too? I have no idea. I can say, though, I don't know many male readers in my personal life. If they do read, they only read one or two books a year tops.

  7. My husband reads sporadically but probably goes through 6 to 12 books in a year. He usually reads when he's between xbox games, as in finished one and trying to decide on what he will buy next.

    I'm speculating here, but women might read for pleasure more than men because they crave the quiet alone time. Speaking for myself I am run ragged all day dealing with trivial drudgery and I have to listen to the mind-rotting blather of children 365 days a year. Reading provides a badly needed intellectual retreat and it lets mundane cares and duties all slip away. I used to read mostly fiction, but over the years I have switched to reading about 90 percent nonfiction. I still like fiction, but I crave information. There are so many things I need to learn.

    Speculating about the state of society and its effect on men, they might be too mentally stressed and overworked to bother with the mental effort of reading regularly. They want to zone out to TV or kill things in video games. And yes, the purpose of literacy is for reading sports coverage.

    As for my own readers, I've gotten good feedback from both men and women. I think my readership trends a little toward the male, but it's hard for me to know for sure.

  8. Emilia, nice work on coaxing your broth into reading! Coming from experience, I loved the Icewind Dale Trilogy. And if he likes that, maybe he might like my Realm of Ashenclaw as well! (Sorry about the plug, but I couldn't resist!)

    Either way, I am glad that you are trying and that you are an advocate for reading. On a personal note, I am not a huge fan of long stories, though for some reason, George Martin pulls it off and really stays on is impressive! Thanks for the comments and please stop by again! Cheers!

  9. Mande, I love being alone! Maybe for different reasons, but I am perfectly content alone with my imagination. We get along swimmingly. That being said, I am at home amongst crowds, too.

    I'm not sure what to think about it, but it is sad that there aren't more of us out there. Maybe I need to start a network of male readers! Thanks for the comments and please do stop by to share your thoughts with us in the future!

  10. Tracy, I tend to think that you are on the right track in several of your points. If I was to guess, men needing to have an outlet other than reading is probably true...maybe testosterone will not allow us to sit still long enough!

    I also tend to think that fantasy (which you and I both provide) is an awesome outlet for men to check out. Not that women shouldn't and I certainly wish that more women would! But, it is right in the wheelhouse with violence and possibly the notion of simpler times...who knows?

    I am trying to target more women with two of my main characters being female--and strong female personalities at that. The stereotypes have women reading romance and Young Adult and men not reading much at all other than subjects reading to sports, cars and women. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and I look forward to reading more in the future, Tracy! Keep on writing fantasy!

  11. Both my parents are avid readers. My dad's a huge fan of Westerns. Many an evening the two of them sit side by side with their Kindles reading away.

    My brothers were great readers when they were younger, but rarely read now. I have many male friends who say they love to read (and indeed have huge collections of books), but say they don't have the time.

    I think it's about priorities. Women tend to prioritize reading as an activity, finding it relaxing/stimulating/engaging. Men tend to prioritize other activities such as sports and computer games.

    I think there's been a slight reversal in what socially acceptable for the genders. It used to be that women who read were considered "bluestockings" and outcasts from polite society. Now it seems that very often men who read are viewed as "geeks" and not macho (I personally find reading very sexy in a man. And I'm not talking Playboy articles.) Though I will say that in London I see a great many men reading. More so than back home in the States.

  12. Hi, Shea and thanks for the comments! I appreciate your thoughts and think you are onto something there. Men are considered 'geeks' or 'nerds' or whatever if they express interest in things that seem to stimulate the mind rather than...well, other things.

    There is certainly pressure put on men to behave a certain way for sure. I embrace 'geekdom' now and forever and my wife knew it right from the beginning. I think that me being who I really am is something that needs to be seen early on. I know guys that hide it from their girlfriends/wives and never understood it, thinking that if you don't share things with your mate, then they don't really know the real you. It is a sad existence to hide who you are or what makes you happy from your spouse/mate.

    I am glad that you find reading sexy and encourage you to find a man who uses his head for something other than a hat rack! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and I look forward to hearing more from you in the future!

  13. About half of my guy friends play games and take pride in NOT reading, while the women who I know are generally more supportive. As a result, I tend to write fantasy that I think my female friends would enjoy. As for my guy friends, they will have to content themselves by being whipped by yours truly in said games.

  14. AE, thanks for stopping by to comment! I understand that about some guys I have met also, stating proudly that they don't read like its a badge of honor. I couldn't be more disgusted when I hear it in that context. When you say, you write fantasy that appeals to women, what do you mean? Thanks for the comment and please feel free to frequent the blog with your comments!

  15. I've been an avid reader all my life and hooked my sons on fantasy/SF when they were young. That didn't stop them from gravitating toward video games as teens. My now 19-year-old read every Harry Potter, The Percy Jackson Books, and others. But the only book he wanted for his 19th birthday was Christopher Paolini's Inheritance even after I suggested continuing some of the other series he started. Now I'm glad the 7th grade girls in the class I read it to liked my book as well as the boys even though it's a male MC.

  16. Sher, thanks so much for joining the community here and for sharing your thoughts with us! I am glad that you were able to get your sons to read. We need more men representing the readers out there. I think that for some reason, it is something that boys are ashamed of and are pressured into playing video games and whatnot to be cool. I hope I am wrong. I loved reading from an early age and still do, I just wish I had more time to read at all! Thanks again for the comments and I look forward to more in the near future. Cheers!

  17. I think men don't read as much because of the way reading is taught in schools, and I don't know how to change that. I have always read, especially in elementary school where I loved fiction. By the time I got to middle school, there was no special premium placed on reading, and I began reading nonfiction books. I was turned off of fiction because the way it was presented, where I had to dissect these books and it spoiled the fun of reading the book. Once I grew up and started watching movies that I felt had amazing but underdeveloped worlds, or television shows that got boring before they ended, or plays that tried to be movies. It was at this point after, hearing the book is better than the movie, a billion times, that I decided to try it for my self. It was like all of the emotions I experienced reading as a child, or like watching a 10-20 or more hour movie. Once I realized this, reading was no longer a chore, but a fun experience, and If I don't like the book, I'll just pick a better one.

    If reading becomes a chore for men, they will treat fiction as extraneous rather than entertaining. Games are never presented as chores, so men tend to gravitate to it as entertainment instead. I personally feel I am wasting time playing games, so I have never been able to allow myself to be hooked on games. I think that men need to be reminded that reading a good book is just as fun as playing a good video game, watching a good movie, or marathoning an amazing televisions show. It wouldn't be a stretch of the imagination to argue that it might even be more entertaining than all of those. But then again, if people can't read these days, maybe it can't happen.


  18. Hello, JWK and thanks so much for stopping by to comment and share your thoughts with us! I am simply happy that you are reading and that you have realized the value of the written word. I might just do the post about this next, but you bring up a great point. A book can be like a 10-20 hour movie, yes...but, it is a GOOD 10-20 hour movie! Can you imagine, if you have watched the Game of Thrones series, a 2 hour movie of this as opposed to the 10 hour mini-series? I can't...

    I was badly hooked on games and realized the utter and absolute waste of time they were to me. All it was doing was distracting me from doing something else with my time. I wish men would prove me wrong here by coming and voicing their opinions about it, but sadly, they are conspicuous in their absence. I truly hope that it is not that people CAN'T read. it is simply that they choose not to. It is not 'sexy' I suppose. I applaud all readers, be they male or female and will continue to fight for self-education and personal respnosibiloty. Unfortunately (or fortunately), it is up to you ultimately to be responsible for your own education....

    Thanks for the mental stimulation! Please do stop by to visit us again and feel free to join the site! All the best!

  19. I'm female. I have a few uncles that read, older men, obviously. I think I may have 1 or 2 guy friends (in real life--not online) that read. That may be because reading's not "cool" to most people in my region--rural Mississippi. We were not pushed to read in school.

    Matter of fact, I got in trouble a few times for reading--even though I was done with my work.