So why don't boys read more books, and girls do more math?
Just kidding. I'm not going to attempt to answer that here, because I would inevitably just piss everybody off.
Pub Rants joined the fray, which is where I caught some amusing contribuions to the debate, such as My Writer Bloggy Woggy: The Anti-Penis Bias in Pubbying!
I'm somewhat sympathetic, except for one thing. Some study somewhere, which I should cite, but I'm too lazy, and honestly, I have other things I should be doing now than writing this blog post, have found that female readers will read books by male authors and aimed at male readers, but not the reverse. Which makes me feel just a bit less sorry for the male readers who are complaining.
It is also why, despite this evidence about females dominating both the professional and readership sides of publishing, I have had cause to regret not choosing a gender-neutral or even masculine pen name. Because I write sf, and even hard sf, and I wonder if male readers will read it.
Ted Cross brought up a related point, about "romantasy" book covers. If you don't know the ones he means, take a look at his site.
Which brings me to the real point of this post, namely, do you think certain covers appeal more to female or male readers? And what elements appeal more to one gender or the other?
One might think that a book with a sexy female on the cover is meant to appeal to a man, and a book with a sexy man on the cover is to appeal to a woman. I don't think it's that simple.
I think the covers with the hunks and babes are BOTH geared to appeal to women. Books with sexy women meant to appeal to men usually show the women in a slightly different way. Kneeling at a man's feet in a bikini, for example. (Just sayin'.)
But I also have this theory, and feel free to disagree, that books oriented more toward female readers have a close-up shot of a face or torso (person focused), whereas books oriented more toward male readers have a wider shot, showing an action scene, or gadgets (spaceship, swords, boats, cars, castles, armor, etc.)
When pre-verbal babies are show toys, girls respond better to people/faces and boys to objects trucks or balls. Unless the baby in question has William's Syndrome, in which case, whether a he or she, that baby will fixate on a human face. Which is neither here nor there, but pretty interesting in and of itself.