Why Have Men Stopped Reading?
The pandemic encouraged people around the world to read more books than ever before.
There have been some changes. Amazon is pushing audiobooks, where their profits are higher. Hardbacks have picked up sales and e-books have fallen since no longer being promoted by Amazon. But all the academic data I’ve read shows that the gender gap has grown considerably, with far fewer males of working age reading books. Close to 80% of all books are now purchased by women.
The Guardian says, ‘Women are prepared to read books by men, but many fewer men are prepared to read books by women.’ I would argue with that; try finding many women who have read Giles Milton, Nicholas Rankin or Ben McIntyre.
Men enjoy books by women; the average rating men give to women authors on Goodreads is 3.9 out of 5; for male authors it’s slightly lower. In Scandinavian countries males read both. Most men stop reading a book by page 50 but women are more likely to persevere past page 100. Several reasons for the reduction in male readership present themselves.
1 The most obvious is that that reading has been reduced by technology. More men now spend their spare time looking at their phones and pads.
2 More males are in full time employment, and this makes increased demands on their time.
3 Female authors are perceived as being more interested in emotional and family issues.
4 Publishers are not catering to a male market in recession.
5 Writers are not catering to male readership in the way they used to.
6 The Scandinavia example suggests that the UK has a more primitive approach to gender equality.
7 ‘Viewing the world through a woman’s emotions that isn’t appealing to most men.’ – Goodreads reader comment
I’ll be interested in hearing your point of view, especially from new readers.