Wendy Cooling, of Bookstart, a charitable programme that encourages children to read, said she was dismayed that publishers were now using gender-specific marketing for certain children’s books. Whereas girls were not put off boys’ books, which tended to have primary colours, few boys dared to be seen reading a pink or purple book, even though they might otherwise enjoy it.Publishers, though, seem to believe that they are using the most efficient business model already, one that will result in the largest number of books sold:
“Publishers are getting the covers wrong. Some stories are perfectly attractive to boys, but they are needlessly put off,” she said.
Anne McNeil, the publishing director of Hodder Children’s Books, which publishes Saffy’s Angel, said: “Where books are about real contemporary characters rather than fantasy, we find that it is challenging to produce a cover which appeals equally to both genders – the danger is, you end up appealing to neither. Therefore we do tend to make a targeted decision, and are comfortable that this produces more sales.”But the last word goes to a critic of "pink covers":
Marion Lloyd, publisher of Marion Lloyd Books at Scholastic, which publishes books by Philip Pullman, also defended the use of pink covers.
“Publishers are very conscious about what is a girlie cover and what is a boyish colour. We might look at a book and say ‘A boy would never touch it in a million years, but we don’t mind that if we can sell it to girls’,” she said.
...Amanda Craig, a children’s book critic for The Times, said that such attitudes risked undermining attempts to encourage more boys to read. “Publishers are quite lazy on this issue. They know that girls are more likely to enjoy reading, so it’s easier for them simply to target them. They don’t seem to realise that boys are capable of just as broad a range of reading as girls, once they get started,” she said.I can see both sides of this argument, but as a male reader, I have to admit that there are plenty of titles that I might read if not for the books' covers. I do a significant portion of my reading in public places (coffee shops, bookstores, while standing in various lines, etc.) and there are many books that are so obviously aimed at female readers that I would not want to be seen reading from them. I suppose that proves the original theory..and that boys never grow up.