Men are quicker to judge a book they’re reading than women are, according to Jellybooks, a reading analytics startup. The company’s studies show that men and women abandon books at equal rates – but that men do so earlier on.
Interestingly, the study shows no notable difference in the completion rates of most types of books. In other words, women and men were equally likely to toss a book aside before finishing it – but men made that decision having read fewer pages. This suggests that in addition to being quick to decide they dislike a book, men may also be quicker to decide whether or not they love it: after a steep initial drop-off, men abandoned books at a lower rate.
One way of looking at this is to say that women give books more of a chance than men. On the flip side, it also means that men are more likely to stick by a book once they’re a certain portion of the way through it.
The quick decision patterns of male readers presents a unique challenge for writers. In Jellybooks founder Andrew Rhomberg’s analysis, writers have “only 20 to 50 pages to capture [male readers’] attention.”
All of these conclusions apply more or less equally to all types of books – with the notable exception of what Rhomberg calls “books that deal with feelings,” which include “books about emotions like grief, loss and love, but also books about relationships in general and romance in particular.” On these books, mens’ completion rates dipped below womens’. The gender of the author doesn’t seem to matter – only that of the reader.
You can check out Rhomberg’s full write-up of his company’s results over at Digital Book World.