No matter if it is Austen or Atwood, the Brontës or Booker winners, data shows men are reluctant to read women – and this has real world implications
Female authors through the centuries, from the Brontë sisters to George Eliot to JK Rowling, have felt obliged to disguise their gender to persuade boys and men to read their books.
For the top 10 bestselling female authors (who include Jane Austen and Margaret Atwood, as well as Danielle Steel and Jojo Moyes), only 19% of their readers are men and 81%, women. But for the top 10 bestselling male authors (who include Charles Dickens and JRR Tolkien, as well as Lee Child and Stephen King), the split is much more even: 55% men and 45% women.
Women are 65% more likely to read a nonfiction book by the opposite sex than men are. All this suggests that men, consciously or unconsciously, don’t accord female authors as much authority as male ones.