Do women rule the publishing world?
Last month, best-selling author Jason Pinter blamed the lack of male readers on a publishing industry run amok with women. According to his Huffington Post piece, men will continue to eschew books as long as women who run publishing houses fail to produce reads that men are interested in.
In the article, he mentions a proposed book deal with pro-wrestler Chris Jericho, which he was convinced would be a phenomenal success, but his bosses weren't exactly convinced:
"One of our senior editors had a 15-year old nephew who was a wrestling fan. I was instructed to have a conference call with the editor's nephew, where I would ask him what he thought about Jericho. If the nephew agreed that Jericho was popular and the book had potential, I would be permitted to make an offer. If the kid disagreed, no dice. Naturally I was dumbstruck, infuriated, since I was essentially being told that a random 15-year with no publishing experience and questionable judgment was trusted more than I was."
Jericho's book was published, and became a New York Times best-seller, but Pinter is convinced that many more male-friendly books are killed than are green-lit in today's publishing world -- because too many women hold positions of power, and don't understand what men want to read.
Last week, Quill and Quire expanded on this theme, discussing the possibility that not only is there a feminine bias, but it exists because only women are willing to work the long hours with much less compensation than men are willing to accept in their careers. As their piece asks, "Does publishing attract a disproportionate number of women because women make up the bulk of readers, or is it simply the case that more women are willing to accept the profession’s spiritually – but not materially – rewarding career prospects?"
This is an interesting argument for me, because the oft-repeated joke in the newsroom is that no one gets into journalism for the money. You work nights, weekends and 14-hour days for years, if not decades, for a much lower salary than your friends who pursued medicine, law or finance.
And yet, we don't seem to have any shortage of men in the profession. In fact, journalism has long been a male-dominated industry, and that doesn't seem to be changing.
So I don't think I'm convinced with the money argument. Both men and women decide to pursue careers based on their passions, not just their wallets, and I don't feel publishing should be any different. Of course, that does leave us with the original query: Do men read less because they're not being catered to, or are they not marketed to because men simply don't like to read?
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