Why don’t men read more?

This might explain it.

This might explain it.

I hear from a lot of male readers, both young and old(er).  As a result, I may have a distorted view of the readership in the U-S of A – America (can you tell I get a lot of spam?).  I am told by publishing industry pundits that men don’t read as much as women.  Therefore, the female reader is highly coveted.  I look at bestseller lists these days, and I do see a lot of romance themed novels flooding the top of any given list.    Further solidifying the point that more women buy books than men, agents and editors have taken to the Twittershere with the hashtag MSWL (Manuscript Wish List).  A quick survey of the list reveals a large number of references to themes that would appeal to female readers: strong female protagonist, romance, heroine, mother/daughter, female pirate, etc.

So my question is why don’t more men read?  Is it a cultural construct or do they not read because the publishing industry doesn’t seem to produce material that appeals to them as much?  Maybe I’m asking the wrong questions.  Why don’t men read books with strong female protagonists, and why are we, the male of the species, so opposed to romance novels?

As an indie author, I may be more concerned about these issues than most people, but I find the topic interesting in a perplexing kind of a way.  So I guess the real question is are men the problem or is the publishing industry the problem?

BTW – The ‘s’ only looks unnecessary in the hashtag MSWL.  MS is the accepted abbreviation for manuscript.

BTW2 – I would totally read a book about a female pirate.

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