Goodreads Survey Shows Gender Divide in Reading Choices

Books1A Goodreads survey shows readers prefer authors of their own sex. Of the 50 books published in 2014 that were most popular among men, 45 were written by men and five by women. The same was true for women, but it should be noted that Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling’s pen name) was one of those five “male” authors.

Goodreads, a Web site for readers with 30 million members, looked at a sample of 40,000 active members to determine what they were reading and which books they liked. The total sample was equally divided with 20,000 men and 20,000 women.

Here are some of the results of the Goodreads survey:

  • Women read twice as many books published in 2014 as men.
  • In the first year of publication, a female author’s audience will be 80 percent female, while 50 percent of a male author’s audience will be female.
  • For 2014 books, on average, women rated books by women 4.0 out of 5; they rated books by men 3.8 out of 5. On average, men rated books by women 3.9 out of 5; they rated books by men 3.8 out of 5.

Part of Statistics

I took an inventory of the books I’ve read this year. Not surprisingly, I’m part of the Goodreads statistics. I am, in fact, a Goodreads member. I finished reading 15 books this year. Eleven were written by women; four were written by men.

The two books I’m currently reading are by male authors. Two others that I plan to read are by female authors. I will most likely finish reading them in 2015.

How about you? Did you read more books by men or women this year? To view the Goodreads infographic titled “Sex and Reading: A Look at Who’s Reading Whom,” click here.

Leave a comment


  1. I have also heard about the gender bias issues. I’ve heard that men are especially unlikely to read books with a male protagonist written by a female writer. Because of this issue, publishers will at times urge female authors with male protagonists to publish using their initials (case in point, J.K. Rowling). But if you include an author pic at the back of your book, then of course the jig is up. I don’t knowingly have a gender bias in my reading; I select books based upon personal recommendations, press on Publishers Marketplace, awards, agent likes, etc.. In light of this post, however, I think it would be useful for me to look back at the books I read last year (if I can remember which ones were from last year) and take down gender of authorship.

  2. Hi Beth! I also don’t pick books based on the gender of their authors. So it was interesting to see that majority of the books I read this year are by women.

  3. Just off-hand, I suspect I read more books from women this year. But now I’m curious, so I’ll have to check when I get home. I’m in CO right now for Christmas. 🙂

  1. Study: Reading Completion Rate Correlates with Reader’s Age | Cindy Fazzi

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