The Impact of Gender on Book Marketing

Every day the books we see in the large book stores are subjected to intense marketing segmentation strategies. Marketers can use age and income to best market different books to the right groups of people. There happens to be one demographic measure in particular that plays a substantial role in book publishing: Gender. Women read substantially more than men. Women tend to vastly outnumber men in book clubs and social reading communities.

Marketers are able to use this information to capitalize on the female demographic.  For example, romance novels are a billion dollar industry that is primarily written and read by females. It is a substantially larger industry than the literary industry.

Women read more than men in almost every category, including romance. According to NPR writers, the only exceptions to this are that men tend to read more history and more biographies.

According to NPR author Eric Weiner, “Men account for only 20 percent of the fiction market, according to surveys conducted in the U.S., Canada and Britain.”

This gender gap poses a challenging question for marketers who are trying to figure out their marketing strategies for the future and who attempting to create future trends. Should marketers accept the gender divide in reading, or should they work harder to reach the male demographic?

http://www.npr.org/2014/02/09/273148888/romance-novels-sweep-readers-off-their-feet-with-predictability

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=14175229

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3 thoughts on “The Impact of Gender on Book Marketing

  1. courtneycalderon February 14, 2015 / 8:45 pm

    This was a very interesting read! After considering the ample research about how women read more on average than men, I wondered if there was anything about who writes more.

    According to this Huffington Post article, women tend to write more fiction as well. When looking at the New York Times fiction best-seller list in 2014, 11 of the 15 novels were written by women. This isn’t even focusing on just romance novels. Women outnumber men in science and horror novels, too. It makes sense that female authors lead to female readers. As an avid reader myself, I think I subconsciously gravitate towards female authors.

    With that being said, I think marketers should continue doing what they’re doing in terms of the gender divide. There’s no point in fixing something that isn’t really broken. They should market published pieces for their content, not for the gender of their intended reader. I don’t think that will change no matter how much they try.

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  2. chadprom February 15, 2015 / 7:14 pm

    From personal experience, I have witnessed my female family and friends reading extensively. I can not say the same for my male friends and family. My dad reads biographies and non-fiction and my mom will read basically anything but that. The polarization of genre is apparent even within my family and friends. I am not too surprised by this fact. I am more surprised to learn how much more woman tend to read than men.

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  3. stephaniebaur February 16, 2015 / 10:32 pm

    J.K. Rowling’s website, jkrowling.com, addresses this topic when discussing her pen name, “The use of a pen name was suggested by her publisher, Barry Cunningham. He thought that young boys might be wary of a book written by a woman, so Joanne chose ‘K’, for ‘Kathleen’, the name of her paternal grandmother.”
    Part of Harry Potter’s whirlwind success was her book’s appeal to both genders. If the woman’s market is showing up to the party regardless, it might be prudent to try and appeal to the male market.

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