Are book covers really gendered?

By Eric Ralph

Maureen Johnson caused quite a stir when calling for an end to ‘gendered’ book covers. The differences between the original and ‘gender-flipped’ would be compelling, except for one thing: The covers were deliberately ‘gendered’ to make a point. It made me wonder if covers are truly gender-based. As a quick, unscientific, non-controlled study, I took some covers from the top books listed by Amazon under Science Fiction and Fantasy. Half of these are by male authors, half by female (Note: I did not research the authors, so they could be of the opposite gender and have a non-gender-typical name).

Can you tell without reading the author which is by a woman or a man? Is there a difference in quality?

RobertJordan PeterBrett PatriciaBiggs OrsonScottCard KimHarrison HeleneWecker ElizabethWein DeborahHarkness DanielWallace BenGalinas


3 thoughts on “Are book covers really gendered?

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  3. What an interesting post, something I’ve never really thought about!

    It was mixed for me: some of them I guessed right away, yet I thought the ‘Shadow of Night’ cover was a male author, but it isn’t (unless the guy’s name is Deborah!). Similarly, I thought ‘The Gate Thief’ cover was by a female author, but it’s Orson Scott Card.

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