A bookstore named Loganberry Books located in Cleveland, Ohio, came up with a brilliant way to show how publishing is affected by sexism. So, if you walk into their fiction section, you will see this:
Harriett Logan, the owner of the store, deliberately flipped around all the fiction books written by men with the help of her employees, and her goal was to hide their colorful spines from view. Why?
She says that she wanted to do something provocative and interesting for Women’s History Month and something that displayed the disparity of women working in the field. According to her estimation, nearly two-thirds of the 10,000 fiction works at her used bookstore were written by men.
The gender gap, of course, is not limited to the fiction section only, as it reflects a much bigger problem.
Female authors face obstacles into getting their work published, which is not the case for their male peers. Even though many people think that there are just as many women as men who publish books, there is still gender biased influence on which books get published and reviewed, and eventually reach commercial success.
A women’s literary group named VIDA conducted a study which found that there are many more men writing book reviews for major publications, and, unsurprisingly, the majority of the books reviewed in these publications were written by men. So, to put it simply, book publishing tends to be a “boys’ club”.
There is another anecdote that perfectly explains this, and author Catherine Nichols felt it on her own skin. She conducted a shocking experiment back in 2015 in which she submitted her own novel to be published under both her own name and a fictional male-sounding name. What she found was that her fake male counterpart was 8.5 times more likely than her to get published, and, apparently, “he” was “eight and a half times better than her at writing the same book”.
Stories like hers perfectly illustrate why female writers choose to publish their work under pseudonyms or male names.
Another example is one of the most famous writers, J.K. Rowling, who decided to use that name because she was afraid that a woman’s name on the cover of her books would hurt the sales.
So, that is why Logan is challenging booklovers to think more critically about the titles they choose to read!