The publishing market publishes almost twice as many female writers as female writers


A pseudonym can be deceiving, but the ISBN figures cannot: 23,691 titles of paper books written by men were published in the year of the pandemic. The titles signed by authors were 13,488. That is, 36% of the total. In 2020 almost 64% of the books that reached the bookstores were the works of men, but only four years ago it was worse. In 2017 they were only 31% (12,683 paper titles). Carmen Mola hid three men and an inequality which has hardly been broken, despite the growth in the presence of the authors in the points of sale in 2019, when the sector published more titles and more women (they were 35.5%).


The digital meetings of great Spanish authors that the Frankfurt Book Fair prepares

The digital meetings of great Spanish authors that the Frankfurt Book Fair prepares

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Before 2017 there are no data on gender segregation. The first time this perspective was incorporated into the annual balance made by the Ministry of Culture occurred in 2019, when it made the 2018 records public. Until then, the inequality of the book industry had not mattered. From the discovery of this reality, the sector has rectified the inertia although it remains far from equality.

It is striking that, as these 2020 data reveal, an unequal industry like the book industry is supported by women. First of all by the readers and buyers. In the survey of Cultural Habits and Practices in Spain, carried out in 2019 by the Ministry of Culture and Sports with the collaboration of the INE, it is observed that among women the love of reading is greater, 69.4%, compared to 62 % from them. There are more readers than authors.




In fact, in another survey carried out in June 2020 by the Federation of Publishers Guilds of Spain (FGGEE), during confinement Spanish women read even more than Spaniards. In isolation to avoid the coronavirus, the distance between the sexes grew more: among them there were 48% readers, and among them 66% readers. In other words, they support sales, even if the industry bets on the man. In addition, according to the INE, cultural employment in the publishing sector continues to be led by men, albeit slightly: 50.6% are workers and 49.4% are workers. The world of publishing borders on equality, although not that of creation.

If we put the magnifying glass on the two star literary genres, we will see that the distance between writers and women writers grows so much that their literary works almost doubled theirs, in 2019: 12,304 compared to 6,987. In the trial it is even worse: 13,672 titles published by authors compared to 6,185 by authors. That year the Classics and Modern association published an interesting report on this aspect, in which it asserts that “traditionally women have not been recognized as a voice of authority” and “currently women are not generally recognized as leaders. intellectuals “.




“There is an important block for women to take a step forward in public space,” says the writer Aixa de la Cruz, born in Bilbao 33 years ago and author of Change of idea (Troy Horse). Her experience as a teacher in writing workshops proves it: of the 30 people who sign up, six are men. “They are more gripped by the impostor syndrome, there is still much more fear to consider that what one does is worthy. We continue to be educated to be discreet, to be afraid of exposing ourselves. The exhibition is more penalized for us,” adds De the cross.

Despite everything, he acknowledges that until recently it was not interesting to publish women, because it was not interested in their point of view or feminine issues. There was a clear representation problem that affected women’s access to the publication. In recent years there has been a slight movement of visibility: “The most literary publishers are privileging voices and representations of the female point of view,” explains Aixa de la Cruz. For her part, Elvira Navarro does not believe that women have problems publishing. “It cannot be argued that women are not published. There is a majority of women in the younger voices. Where there is a scandalous absence is in the literature manuals, where they are absent and should be in their own right, not because they are women” , indicates Navarro, author of The island of rabbits (Random House Literature).

Nere Basabe’s editors tell him that no manuscripts of women arrive. “There is insecurity of the female voice, but also a norm of what is considered good literature. The canon”, says the political scientist, novelist, columnist, professor of contemporary history at the Autonomous University of Madrid and author of The lower limit (Page break). For Basabe, the origin of inequality, doubts and fears is in the construction of “the good.” Those who decide the quality of the literary are still men, he indicates: “Literary criticism is exclusively in the hands of men.”

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