We Read Too. It’s the name of an app to help readers discover books about and written by minorities.
While everyone a few years ago was posting on social media that We Need Diverse Books and doing NOTHING to actually accomplish that goal some people were actually coming up with ideas and solutions. Thus, the app.
The app acts as a directory of books with what we call diverse authors an characters. Basically anyone who is non-white. Like myself. Personally I’d like to read more books with Latino characters or authors. But those books are massively outnumbered in the marketplace by booms mostly written by old white guys. Which isn’t inherently bad. It just is what it is.
Remember that whole thing that started in 2014 about the lack of diversity in books? You know, the one that had readers changing their profile pictures on social media to show their support for the movement. Well a new study suggests they were asking for the wrong thing.
Diversity in publishing is what we need. Because then diversity in books would slowly follow. Here are some stats from the survey conducted by Lee and Row over the course of a year.
78 percent of industry employees are female.
79 percent are white.
86 percent of executives are white.
82 percent of editorial staff are white.
84 percent of editorial staff are female.
This was a voluntary survey sent out to dozens of publishers and journals. There is no way for the results to be 100 percent accurate. But if these numbers are even close to being true they make you think about something people say very often, that publishing is dominated by old, white men. I don’t know. Maybe it is. But maybe that’s just an easy way to criticize an industry with blanket statements that people won’t argue because they only know the few super authors they read (who happen to be old, white men).
If books lack diversity (which they do) it isn’t because of the authors writing the books, it’s because of those who work to publish them. Let’s make sure we’re pointing our fingers at the right people here. All this crap people say about not reading white men is absolutely ridiculous.
The whole thing is stupid. Read whatever you want. Or at least have more fact than speculation on your side.
What do you think? I say diversity in publishing leads to diversity in books. And right now we have neither.
You can read the results here.