My kids and I wandered into the fiction section at the bookstore, attracted by the bright cover art and the promise of good stories. I noticed that my two kids (I have one boy and one girl) went to different areas of the shelves. "Show me which covers you like the best," I suggested. Without hesitation, my 9-year-old daughter pointed to books with pictures of women in old-fashioned dress, as well as artwork of children, animals and flowers. My 11-year-old son rolled his eyes. He tugged my arm across the row and pointed at a row of books on the opposite shelf. Instead of people, these books sported helicopters, military symbols, weapons and national monuments.
I guess I already knew that men and women (even boys and girls) are attracted by different types of fiction, but I was amazed to see it play out so perfectly.
When was the last time you saw a man reading a book about a young Amish girl falling in love? Or a woman reading a book about political intrigue and rumors of war?
Obviously, there are plenty of exceptions. Right now I am reading Davis Bunn's Lion of Babylon--complete with a helicopter on the cover--and thoroughly enjoying it. But, I picked it up because I'm a fan of Davis Bunn's writing, not because of the cover art. It's beautiful artwork, just not the type that usually draws my eye.
Why is this? Is it because women are wired by God for relationship, whereas men have the heart of warriors and are programmed for excitement? Why do women (in very general terms) like "chick flicks" and men like action movies? Years ago I took a writing for kids workshop where the instructor recommended that your main character be a boy. "Girls will read about boys, but boys never want to read about a girl." Really? Is that true?
I don't have the answers. But I find the questions intriguing. Tell me what you think. And, what types of covers do you like? How much does it influence your book choices?
And here's another question that's been bugging me--how is this going to change as we move to an e-book world?