Friday, April 3, 2009

Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better

In Annie Get Your Gun , Annie Oakley and Frank Butler show their competitive sides as they sing the well-known song Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better. Does this include reading?

According to a recently released survey women read more than men. This didn’t really come as a surprise to me. It very well may start in childhood. Typically if you can get a youngster hooked on books at an early age, male or female, they will be hooked for life. The trick is finding a series that they will get caught up in and continue to read. Twilight did this for many. Plenty of customers have discovered the joy of reading with this series and have asked for other similar stories. These are mostly teenage girls and women of all ages, though. What can be done to encourage boys and men to read more? Is there something publishers can do to make reading more appealing to men?

From my experience as a bookseller, I do see more girls reading than boys. Lately it seems I’ve had a lot of parents and grandparents choosing books for boys as an alternative to expensive video games. The number of boys that choose books for themselves is still way below that of girls, though. As for men, I sell a lot of history/military, and business/economic books to them, which tells me many read to learn, not simply for enjoyment. On the other hand, mystery/suspense and science fiction/fantasy seem to be very popular with teen and adult men alike.

Men may read less than women, but they do read. Could it be a lack of reading material that interests them or do they just not see reading as a worthwhile way to spend their time? Come on guys! Chime in and let us know what you think. Do you think there is a difference in reading habits between men and women? If so, why do you think that is?