AbstractThere are known gender differences in book preferences in terms of both genre and author gender but their extent and causes are not well understood. It is unclear whether reader preferences for author genders occur within any or all genres and whether readers evaluate books differently based on author genders within specific genres. This article exploits a major source of informal book reviews, the Goodreads.com website, to assess the influence of reader and author genders on book evaluations within genres. It uses a quantitative analysis of 201,560 books and their reviews, focusing on the top 50 user-specified genres. The results show strong gender differences in the ratings given by reviewers to books within genres, such as female reviewers rating contemporary romance more highly, with males preferring short stories. For most common book genres, reviewers give higher ratings to books authored by their own gender, confirming that gender bias is not confined to the literary elite. The main exception is the comic book, for which male reviewers prefer female authors, despite their scarcity. A word frequency analysis suggested that authors wrote, and reviewers valued, gendered aspects of books within a genre. For example, relationships and romance were disproportionately mentioned by women in mystery and fantasy novels. These results show that, perhaps for the first time, it is possible to get large scale evidence about the reception of books by typical readers, if they post reviews online.
CitationThelwall, M. (2017). Reader and author gender and genre in Goodreads. Journal of Librarianship & Information Science, 51 (2), pp 403-430.
JournalJournal of Librarianship & Information Science
DescriptionThis is an accepted manuscript of an article published by SAGE Publishing in Journal of Librarianship & Information Science on 01/05/2017, available online: https://doi.org/10.1177/0961000617709061 The accepted version of the publication may differ from the final published version.
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- Creative Commons
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