Newsbites: Men Don’t Read

NewsBitesGreetings from the IU news desk in the prestigious but entirely fictional BlackBox Tower Complex. It’s our job to track down the news, grab it by the ankles, and hold it upside down until the truth drops out of its pockets.

It’s a dangerous job that takes our staff to far-flung corners of the internet. Our crack team of reporters wade through a digital jungle of pop-up ads and 404 errors to get to the bottom of whatever it is that got their undies in a bunch in the first place.

Remember, NewsBites is the official news snack of the junior auxiliary astronaut team, whose proud motto is: We may not have been in space, but we are willing to go.

Our theme today, and a concern for many authors, is the declining number of men who read. A study commissioned by the Reading Agency finds that 63% of men rarely read. Once again, the study methodologies are not discussed – or maybe they were and I just didn’t read far enough. If they want people to pay attention to these studies, they should make them into television shows or something:

“Nearly three quarters of the men surveyed said they would opt for the film or television adaptation of a book, whereas the same percentage of women were as likely to go for the book itself.”

Men do read, of course. Our areas of interest may not be as far-ranging as those of women. For example, in addition to limericks scrawled on bathroom stalls, men are big consumers of sports magazines. In an obvious ploy to exploit this information, J.K. Rowling will now turn sportswriter to report on the outcomes of Quidditch matches.

Still, one cannot help but wonder why male readership is decreasing when eBooks make it so much easier and convenient to read. It seems another study has found reading comprehension higher among middle-grade children who read print books as opposed to those who read eBooks. The study finds:

“…young readers often skipped over the text altogether, engaging instead with the books’ interactive visual features.”

The same thing happened to me with a certain magazine I used to read when I was a teenager. Ahem – moving along…

As I like to say, admitting the problem is the first step. The Guardian has a list of books for men who do not like to read. I looked at their list and disagree with every single selection. Perhaps they meant the books would be perfect for men who won’t read them anyway because they can use them to squish bugs or throw at burglars.

I don’t have a lot of confidence in some of these studies. As someone once said, “We find the truth we seek,” or in the case of studies, we find the truth you fund. Regardless, my skepticism is well-founded in real-life experience in conducting studies. One thing I can tell you is that people lie. Take this study, which purports to identify the average number of lies people tell each day. How did they draw their conclusions? They asked people how many lies per day they told. I wonder if the respondents were honest.

But if digital books and print books have failed to captivate male readers, all is not lost. Fortunately, there is a company that prints whole books on tee shirts. We might as well put the print where the guys are already looking.

That’s it for this round of NewsBites. Join us next time when we survey staff reactions to their new tee shirts.

Author: Stephen Hise

Stephen Hise is the Evil Mastermind and founder of Indies Unlimited. Hise is an independent author and an avid supporter of the indie author movement. Learn more about Stephen at his website or his Amazon author page.

14 thoughts on “Newsbites: Men Don’t Read”

  1. I notice Big Al is the first in line to comment! My guy won’t read my romance books, but he will buy and read every single one of Janet Evanovich’s books just to see what Lula is up to. We own every Randy Wayne White Doc Ford title. Same with Carl Hiassen’s books. We both adored The Accidental Spy. My guy luuuvs all of the Girl with Dragon Tattoo books–but despises thrillers as soon as the author gets a gun description/use wrong. He will also read books on my Kindle when I turn it loose. Right this minute he reading William Lashner’s books. Love them–not a word out of place–or a gun. So! Men read–but I find men less tolerant than we female readers of errors or skewed scenes.
    Dang! I can’t believe I commented on this post.
    Jackie Weger

  2. Thank you, Steven, there’s nothing as good for you as a good chuckle in the morning. When I’m busy I do miss all of you but there’s no doubt, when you get to my age, things definitely stark backing up if you don’t have a regular dose of snark in your diet.

  3. -giggles- that would have to be a very big T-shirt, EM…unless of course it was embedded with a new touch screen…. did I just say that out loud? -smack-

  4. Your tee shirt idea is spot on provided you put the tee shirts on big busted women. But then some for slim males might also be needed to attract the gay readership. Make sure the print shows up well when the tee shirt is wet.!

  5. lol! “in addition to limericks scrawled on bathroom stalls, men are big consumers of sports magazines” 😉

    oh, and a link to those t-shirts? 😉

    totally agree, not much confidence in these “studies”!

  6. “…interactive visual features..” Heh. Yeah, I didn’t know anything about those when i was a kid….

    Love the t-shirt though. Wonder what it would take to get that done for my book? Hmm.

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