Shebooks: do we need a place for strictly female readers?
January 4, 2014 | 12:14 pm
A new digital publishing company made itself known this week when Shebooks announced it was entering the e-singles market.
The company essentially wants to be the place women can go buy original fiction, non-fiction and journalism by women.
“Women writers are looking for new outlets for their most personal work, and women readers crave great reads that fit into their busy lives,” said Laura Fraser, editorial director and a co-founder of Shebooks, in a release.
The idea of the site sounds interesting – for women, by women.
But do we really need a place to cater to just female readers?
Women – that’s a huge market. You’re talking about 50 percent of the population, and based on Shebooks own statistics in its release, a dominant portion of the book buying community. According to Shebooks, “Women make up 71 percent of all e-book buyers—a $1.7B market. And women make up over two-thirds of all magazine subscribers.”
I am all for having an outlet for women to write. I think more attention needs to be put on female writers, but more so than its readers. Women have been under-represented, even in recent years by places such as the New York Times Book Reviews, according to female writers. In addition, there are many male authors – yes, I’m looking at you Nicholas Sparks – who dismiss what women write.
Having an outlet for women to share their stories is a fantastic idea. However, I do not like the idea of saying that these stories are for women. It seems alienating and hypocritical to promote new works in this way.
Shebooks begins with nine live titles ranging from tales about love, parenting and interracial marriage.
Perhaps marketing to women was an easier way of getting this startup off the ground. However, I think a better stance would be to promote the books of these women, but not to exclude any type of readers.
Because while the majority of women may be e-book buyers, not all women are interested in reading the same things. Some women may prefer love stories, others might want to read historical fiction or science fiction. Some people may not want to read a lick of non-fiction whatsoever. The premise that you can market to one gender seems a bit of a reach when reading interests vary so wildly.
All this isn’t to say I am not going to look at anything on Shebooks. If there is a story that appeals to me, I will purchase it, and support the writer just as I would any author that I find interesting.