Book Publishers Beware!

Governor Walker just repealed the Equal Pay Act.  This is criminal in my eyes.  Women already don’t make the same as men.  The excuses I hear for women earning less is that they are more likely to take time off for having babies.  My answer to that is who do you think put the baby there?  Another one is that women take more time off to care for children.  My answer to that is maybe men should step up then.  We have to carry the kid can’t men step up and do more of the day care. 

I’ll add a note here to all those fathers / uncles and other males who have stepped up to the plate and done what you should, these comments are not directed at you.  They are directed at the outdated and chauvinistic norms that women are held to now.

Recently I read an article about gender bias in the publishing arena – I am taking classes in this field so it only makes sense.  “Vida, an American organization supporting women in literary arts, has compiled statistics on the gender split in books coverage at publications including the London Review of Books, the Times Literary Supplement, the New Yorker, and the New York Times Book Review, each of which showed a substantial bias towards using male reviewers and covering male authors.”

In most cases only about a third of the books or reviews were done by women.  I’d have no problem with this if women only made up a third of the offerings but they don’t.

Is publishing stuck in another era?  I’m beginning to think it might be.  I’ve been reading articles about lending ebooks, self publishing etc.  I’ve read naysayers proclaiming the move to electronic books will kill publishing.  I say publishing is going to kill themselves if they don’t move forward.  To me these seem to be symptoms of the same problem.  Publishers and publishing companies are not changing with the changes in the market, those offering product, and those buying product.

If the companies did move with the times they could embrace new technology as well as please the largest group of buyers (which by the way are women). 

The feminist in me rails against the injustice of the publishing industry being so backwards.  The realist in me just wants to work harder to be published and write reviews.  Perhaps I should use a less feminine name to write under.  Or better yet the publishing companies and reviewing papers should come into the 21stcentury and let the women have a voice too. 

More than this though, the publishing industry needs to get behind women and women’s issues in order to keep their audience.  Money is tight during these economic times that means people are being very selective about where their money goes.  Women are choosing how to spend their money.  If they can’t get ebooks or only hear a man’s opinion of a book they might be less likely to purchase books in any format. 

Publishers and other industry insiders should be standing up with women and fighting against actions like Walker’s.  They should also be cultivating good female reviewers.  Newspapers and other review publications should be encouraging more women to write reviews.  This will increase readership and level the playing field for all.  It is past time to embrace the changes in the industry and in our society.  It is time to come into the 21stcentury and recognize who your customers are and treat them better than you have been.