May 9, 2012

The Book Boys reinforcing gender stereotypes?

I had the great fortune, after dropping my wife off at Adelaide airport, to spend 3 hours scouring Adelaide for the rarest of elixirs – Infiniti Treadmill Lube.  Consequently I have become very familiar with most of Adelaide's greater metropolitan area.

But you were here for the gender commentary no?

Yes, well in my travels I happened to prevail upon a “Book Boys” discount store, sitting in the shell of an old Angus & Robertson.  Now I have picked up some real gems in these stores before, so aside from the usual allure of a brick and mortar store, my fingers started twitching at the possibility of a bargain.

Imagine my surprise upon entering the store and  being confronted with two discount tables labelled “Male Fiction” and “Female Fiction”, the later comprised of 90% romance books. 

Thankfully the “male” table featured some female authors, but I was astounded that the store would fall prey to blatant gender stereotyping.

I posted a message on their Facebook page, reading thus:


Now they were very responsive, when I managed to work out how face book pages work :). 

The Book Boys Hi Sean, Our reasons for the male/female author split is merely an organisational one! We often experiment different ways to display our $4.99 novels and this is the latest. We did not intend to imply that women and men must have different tastes in books (as I know personally this is simply not true!) and I apologise for the offense. Thank you for the feedback, it will be passed along. – Ashlyn

So thanks Ashlyn and The Book Boys for your timely response. 

So my readers what’s helpful for you going into a discount book store?  I am used to rummaging through second hand stores for a bargain.  Do you think the male/ female split, though sexist will work for customers and should that be the only consideration if it does?  Do stores have a responsibility to educate or inform the consumer?

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