Andrew Losowsky of The Huffington Post reports for NY1 on newly released book titles and the world of publishing in "The Book Reader."
Why don't men read books with pictures of women on the cover? And why don't women care as much about reading so-called 'boy books'? That's actually a really complicated question, related to the ways that society tells men and women how to behave.
It's also not reflected in reality. Lots of men love shopping. Lots of women love robots.
Yet book covers for all ages, like most forms of advertising, reinforce a fake division between what women like and what men like. The overall message - that women are into so-called inconsequential things like shopping and love, while men are into politics, spies and science - is poisonous. It presents an unequal and unfair view of humanity, provides a terrible worldview for kids, and as far as books go, it can lead to female authors not being treated seriously, entirely because of how they are being presented. And no, most authors don't get to choose how they will be marketed.
The young adult author Maureen Johnson recently held a contest. She asked designers to perform a coverflip: Take a famous book, change the gender of the author, and guess how that would affect its marketing. The results were as absurd as they were deeply sad.
Do you know why JK Rowling isn't known as Joanne Rowling? Because a publisher told her that if she was clearly a female author, boys wouldn't read her. If that's not true, then something went wrong at the publishers. If it is true, then something is deeply wrong with publishing.
This isn't a book-only problem, but when you go into a bookstore, it's plain to see which books would make men feel awkward to be seen reading.
I'd like to think that men - and women - are smarter than they're being treated, but it's time publishers took responsibility for the messages on the outside, as well as the inside of their books.
You can't judge a book by its cover, but you sure can learn a lot about society.