Set of color books

After spending a great deal of time browsing through dozens and dozens of books blogs—I love the reviews and analyses—I began to notice that practically all of the bloggers I read were women. This was inadvertent. Moreover, the authors of the books they reviewed seemed to be predominantly women. Now, I was mostly looking through Young Adult genre blogs, but still…this made me curious about the trends of book publishing, reviewing, and blogging. Subsequent research produced some fascinating facts about women and books. This article asserts that most book bloggers are women, and this book blogger asked her readers why they thought this was, citing that it was perhaps due to a link with the domestic arena. With the exception of traditional Science Fiction blogs—and recognizing that blog statistics are hard to come by—women do appear to dominate the field of book blogs. Many of them do this for pure joy in addition to their regular jobs.This trend is no small thing, as book blogging is becoming an active and integral part of book promotion, distribution, marketing, and reviewing. These days, prominent bloggers participate in online “tours” for release or pre-release publicity for a new book. Bloggers participate in giveaways for Advance Reader Copies (ARCs) of books. In fact, popular bloggers can make or break an author, because it is a highly interactive community which rapidly spreads its highest praise or greatest disdain.

Young Student reading books at the school parkSo what is it with women and books? Why is this so? Well, simply put, women read more. Women are eager readers, a key demographic for publishers, and highly active in the reading and     writing community. In fact, the disparity between male and female readers has been a cause of concern for some time, with publishers baffled as to how to reach out to the male demographic.

As it turns out, this is not a slight proclivity. “Women read more than men in all categories except for history and biography,” according to this NPR article. This is particularly true of fiction, and there are a few intriguing theories as to why women are great fiction readers. Here are three of them:

1.Women may have more mirror neurons which are believed to be associated with the ability to empathize, a crucial skill for the enjoyment of fiction.

2.It carries over from spheres of leisure and domesticity for the educated but generally house-bound women of yesteryear and is traditionally viewed as a more feminine activity.

3.It is a self-perpetuating cycle based on differences in early cognitive development between boys and girls. Girls tend to read more easily at younger ages than boys do. Since it is initially easier, they do it more, and the habit forms and persists.

Theories 2 and 3 both came from a Princeton working paper which takes an extended look at the subject and offers more details on these hypotheses.

Author Ian McEwan, based on his personal experiences with readers, said that “When women stop reading, the novel will be dead.”

Is this true? Are women the bastion of literature? Or is it more complicated than that? Next we’ll take a look at the publishing industry and women authors.


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