what he said

April 26, 2010

Jason Pinter, the author of the Henry Parker series, wrote a Huffington Post editorial last week with the provocative title “Why Men Don’t Read: How Publishing is Alienating Half the Population.”  Pinter recounts his struggles as an editor to get a biography by Chris Jericho, a well-known wrestler, published because of a total lack of knowledge by the publishing house’s staff.  a senior editor’s nephew saved the day when in a phone call, confirmed that Jericho was indeed popular and the book had potential.  the book, “A Lion’s Tale,” became a New York Times bestseller.  Pinter explains,

Why do I bring this up? Because if you’ve worked in publishing, you’ve heard the tired old maxim: Men Don’t Read. Try to acquire or sell a book aimed predominantly at men, and odds are you’ll be told Men Don’t Read. This story is not an isolated incident, but merely a microcosm of a huge problem within the industry. If you keep telling yourself something, regardless of its validity, eventually you’ll begin to believe it. So because publishers rarely publish for men and don’t market towards men, somehow that equates to our entire gender having given up on the reading books. THIS MUST END.

i completely agree with Pinter and think it’s safe to say that many librarians would agree.  when booktalking in schools, i never had a problem selling books to the guys  – i only had to keep a diversity of readers in mind when handpicking the titles.

so publishers, what’s it going to take for you to up-end this outdated and unprofitable mentality?  kill the publishing gender bias, pretty please?

posting by marin


3 Responses to “what he said”

  1. Darren Nelson Says:


    Thank you for posting this! In the last two years I had several guys asking me for read-a-likes for “Fight Club” (at first this was before David Wright’s NoveList article could even get me started) and found the interaction challenging because that wasn’t my cup of tea at all. I forced myself to read some Palahniuk novels and now really enjoy him and similar authors. Also I found out it’s pronounced Paula-nick and can’t wait to talk about him again with more confidence!


  2. Eric Says:

    Great post, Marin. A similar bias exists about children. Boys and men love to read. Oftentimes however they don’t believe that what they read counts so they self-report that they don’t read. Magazines, how-to manuals, hobby related stuff — that stuff you don’t always read from page one to the end — gets discounted so they don’t see themselves as readers.

  3. […] no secret that the publishing world is dominated by women and a similar gender imbalance is reflected in libraries.  but that doesn’t mean that guys […]

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