Friday, April 23, 2010

Jason Pinter: Why Men Don't Read

Ed here: Former editor and now bestselling suspense writer Jason Pinter writes an interesting piece called Why Men Don't Read.
He maintains that the big reason is that publishing doesn't market to men. This appears on Huffington Post today. I don't know if I agree with everything he says but it's a fascinating piece and well worth reading completely. Plus I'm a fan of his novels.

Jason Pinter:

Men read. Tons of them do. But they are not marketed to, not targeted, and often totally dismissed. Go to a book conference, a signing. Outside of a Tucker Max event, what percentage of attendees are men?

I thought about this while watching the first television ad for the Barnes & Noble Nook. The ad itself, I think, is quite well done and effective. It tells a story, hits strong emotions. But notice something odd? It markets itself solely towards women. What about the Kindle? Amazon is a brilliant, juggernaut of a company, but the ads for Kindle with their twee music would make any guy groan.

Now look at the ads for the iPad. Cool, right? They catch your attention without alienating off half the consumer population. Why can't we do that? Make a fun, cool campaign that doesn't cut your audience off at the knees?

I'm tired of people saying Men Don't Read. Men LOVE to read. I've been a reader my whole life. My father is a reader. Most of my male friends are readers. But the more publishing repeats the empty mantra that Men Don't Read the less they're going to try to appeal to men, which is where this vicious cycle begins.

Publish more books for men and boys. Trust editors who try to buy these books, and work on the marketing campaigns to hit those audiences. The readers are there, waiting, eager just under the surface. And I promise, if publishing makes an effort to tap it, they'll come out in droves. It won't be easy. They've been alienated for a long time and might need to be roused from their slumber. But as I've always said the biggest problems facing the publishing industry are not ebooks, or returns, but the number of people reading. This is a way to bring back a lot of readers who have essentially been forgotten about.

for the rest go here:


Kenneth Mark Hoover said...

Men don't read. Historically, they never have. Women read and women buy the most books. They ALWAYS have.

That's just the way it is. Pretending otherwise, or hoping otherwise, is a lesson in self-inflicted myopia if nothing else.

Dan_Luft said...

Men read, boys read, but I, like most of my friends and probably like a lot of people who read this blog, read a lot of used books and a lot of very old, nearly antique books. (The same way we used to search for comics) I'm reading "Bimini Run" by E. Howard Hunt which he wrote in 1949 and my paperback is from 1974. I hope to finish it before it falls apart in my hands.

Dan_Luft said...

BTW, the first time I ever heard of Ed Gorman was when I read his essay "Golden Harvest" in The Big Book Of Noir. I went into a book buying frenzy in used stores and online but none of it registered as "sales" in the publishing world. Thank you Ed, it was a great essay.

Peter L. Winkler said...

Who reads Tom Clancy, Clive Cussler and all the other techno-thriller books, not to mention all the military-techie science fiction? Men.

Terrill Lee Lankford said...

What an odd statement from Kenneth Hoover. I guess Jefferson and Ben Franklin were writing for women back in the good old days before they could even vote. And those Shadow and Doc Savage pulps were targeted at the ladies in the 30s and 40s. And those sexed up gals in the 60s and 70s were really the target audience of The Executioner. I won't even bring Hemingway, Hammett, Fitzgerald, or Steinbeck and their peers into the conversation because they were clearly just writing for the girls.

I remember when my mom used to read us Jim Thompson to get us all to go to sleep back in the early 60s. Sweat dreams....