Which is why yesterday, I proposed a little experiment on Twitter. I asked people to take a well-known book, then to imagine the author of that book was of the opposite gender, or was genderqueer, and imagine what that cover might look like.
There were hundreds of replies within 24 hours. Here are just a few of them.
Pretty interesting. The question I always ask about the gendering of books by women is this: does this kind of packaging help or hurt the book’s sales? My hunch is that these books sell more presented like this than if they were more “masculine.” Interesting stuff.
What’s interesting—to me—here is that while “word of mouth” tied for the top answer in my poll, what it tied with was the book’s cover, and the next highest answer was the book’s synopsis or an excerpt from it. Clearly, then, the book itself (both the outside and the inside) needs to make a good impression on a reader before they buy it.
This sort of data about how people find out about books assumes that people actually know how they came to be interested in a book. In my own experience, this is very difficult to pin down in a multiple choice response.
The U.S. Senate has passed the Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013 (S.743), approving a bill that would make online sellers with $1 million or more in yearly sales (including booksellers like Amazon) collect state sales tax.
If this goes through, Amazon will have to pay a bunch more in taxes, and it will be interesting to see if they raise prices to make up the difference.
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