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.
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.
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