Men Decide Faster Than Women About Books And Reading Habits, Study Finds

Jellybooks, a startup that focuses on book discoverability and reader analytics, has found that men make decisions faster than women when deciding if they are likely to finish reading a book or not.

Testing hundreds of digital papers on several volunteer readers over the past few months, the start-up also managed to work with UK’s major publishers and study the reading differences in males and females.

A JavaScript code was implemented in the digital prints that analyzed reading habits of the volunteers and tested if they like the story and continue reading or stop reading the books right away. With significantly more female volunteers involved in the research, Jellybooks also found that the completion rate was not always gender-specific.

In most cases, the likelihood that a reader will finish a book is not correlated with gender; both sexes have an equal probability of finishing a book, founder Andrew Rhomberg wrote on Digital Book World.

“Books that predominantly deal with these categories show noticeable differences in completion rates, which can vary from relatively small … to very large difference, in which the completion rate for men is half the value or less than that for women,” revealed Rhomberg in an interview with the Guardian.

“Not only do fewer men start reading these books, but those who do start reading them are more likely to give up on them than women are, irrespective of the quality of the content or the narrative.”

Despite analyzing the reading decisions being faster in men, a notable exception included on books that dealt with relationships, love, and grief. Rhomberg also cited an example of a book by a Canadian author, which was tested on 400 volunteers of which 28 percent female completed reading the book, 1 percent more than the men.

“The initial decline during which most readers are lost is much sharper and earlier for men than it is for women, and this is a behavior that we observe for the majority of books,” writes Rhomberg.

“So put another way, men give up on a book much sooner than women do. Given the identical completion rates, we take this to mean that men either have more foresight in this regard or that women continue reading even if they already know that the book is not to their liking. We suspect the latter, but cannot prove it at this point.”

The study also discovered that differences in learning by gender exist, and an author needs to keep hold of a male reader for 20 to 50 pages in order to capture his attention and let him complete the book. Male readers tend to be attracted by books that are to the point and have no rambling, or he is gone, gone, gone, according to Rhomberg.

The study also discovered relations of age and reading habits where readers under the age of 35 and above 45 were more likely to finish reading a book than people between the two ages. Jellybooks also emphasizes the fact that the age group in between the two is also “very little reading.”

The startup focused on several genres of books for the test including fiction, crime, and travel with books from publishers who wanted to keep their work on trial before launch.

“So if it’s a fairly big title, they can see if they should throw a marketing budget at it, or if it’s a smaller title which is resonating with an audience more strongly, which book should get the budget,” Rhomberg said.

“It’s a bit like audience testing for a movie. In the old days, the advance was proportional to the attention a book would get from a publisher, but now, that’s changing.”

Despite the research showing differences in reading habits of men and women, Rhomberg does not expect publishers to change the contents of the book so that they fit the gender and age of the most reading group.

[Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]