Men’s Interest magazines in the USA Kindle store

Men’s Interest magazines in the USA Kindle store

I was looking at the “Special Offers” on my

Kindle Fire HDX 7″ (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping)

I should probably first say something about that.🙂

There is often some…imprecision in how people describe Kindles (and Fires) with Special Offers.

You don’t have to pay something to get the ads removed: the ads reduce the cost of the device.

That’s how it was right from the beginning: when Amazon introduced the Special Offers program (just about four years ago…April 11th 2011, to be exact), it reduced the cost of the device by $25.

Basically what happens is that advertisers subsidize your purchase of the device. You agree to see ads (implicitly) in exchange for a lower price.

If you change your mind (or got the device as a gift), you can pay the difference and stop the ads.

However, I’ve gotten a lot of great deals with the Special Offers! That’s particularly true on the Fires, where we sometimes get these massive discount (more than 80% at times) for a very, very short time. It can even be that if you hover over the button and tap it as fast as you can, they can still be sold out.

The models with Special Offers are generally more popular than the ones without them.

People who don’t want them think they may be intrusive…but they are so unintrusive, I often miss something.🙂

That’s why I go to Offers to see what is there (it’s all the way on your right on the homescreen).

One of them this time was for

Men’s Interest magazines (at AmazonSmile*)

Well.

That’s always been a weird idea to me, that books and magazines would be sold to people based on the customers’ genders.

Yes, when I managed a brick and mortar bookstore (and this was some time ago) we had a “Men’s Adventure” section.

Notice I always say that I managed the store…I didn’t own it, and that section was there when I took over.

That category was also often printed on the book by the publisher.

I have to be honest: I didn’t notice many women buying books from that section…or men buying Harlequin romances.

I’m sure there were women reading Remo Williams and men reading Iris Johansen, but that fact wasn’t commonly shared by them with everyone in the store.😉

That was then, though…this is now.

Is there really a marketing advantage for Amazon to put a Special Offer on everyone’s Fires, and suggest that it is more likely to appeal to a minority of people (there are more women than men in the USA…and statistically, they tend to read more and buy more books, I believe)?

I was curious as to what they labeled as “Men’s Interest”.

I should clarify that: most likely, the publishers pick the categories. Amazon creates the categories, though.

Looking at the magazines by bestselling, they go like this:

  1. Sports Illustrated…I know they’ve worked on increasing their female audience. Professional athletics organizations across the country have tried to do that as well
  2. Rolling Stone: I don’t really see popular music as appealing particularly to men!
  3. Maxim: okay, I would guess their readership is primarily male
  4. Popular Science: this particularly concerns me. There is so much effort being done to get women more involved in STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math). No particular reason this should appeal more to men. I remember there was a controversy years ago with a talking Barbie that used a chip instead of a string. One of things Barbie said was, “Math class is hard.” As I recall, Mattel had to take that one out because of complaints…since Barbie is more likely to be owned by girls than by boys
  5. Men’s Health: I could give you that one…it’s right in the title
  6. Outside Magazine
  7. Outdoor Life: I don’t see either of these as not appealing to women. Of course, you could say that “Men’s Interest” doesn’t mean that it’s not interesting to women, too, but then what would be the point in using the label? I suspect it might be for people who are shopping for men, rather than for the men themselves
  8. Money Magazine: I don’t see any reason for this one. In fact, I’d be surprised if the readership is overwhelmingly male
  9. Backpacker: I wouldn’t say that I even automatically picture backpackers as male. If you say “backpacker” to me, I just don’t have that as a default concept
  10. The Family Handyman…hard to say.

Some of the other topics?

  • Cars
  • Guns
  • Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine (really? I would bet that more women read mysteries than men do)
  • Golf
  • Fighting (wrestling, martial arts)
  • Shutterbug…seriously?

I’m not going to pretend to know what marketing works better for Amazon.

If it was my site, though, I don’t think I’d have that category…or a “women’s fiction” category, for that matter.

Generally, I would want to categorize the works by the works themselves, rather than the intended audience (read: “market”).

The exception to that might be children’s books, I suppose. I have to think about that one.

Let me put this out to you:

Have you been helped in purchasing by having something labeled by gender? Did you ever walk into a bookstore, and look for a “man’s section” to buy a gift? If you ran a bookstore (including a website), how would you categorize the books? Have you “felt funny” about buying a book when you clearly weren’t the intended target market? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

Update: reader Steve made an interesting comment, which prompted me to check what is listed under “Women’s Interest”. If the same magazines were listed in both places, would that make it more reasonable? My feeling would still be no…for me, it’s about the idea that the magazine will particularly appeal to one gender. Saying it particularly appeals to both genders is saying nothing, except as a “double force” marketing ploy.

A “double force” is a magic trick stratagem (and it is used by con artists as well). Basically, it means that you appear to have a choice in something, but you really don’t.

For example, the magician cuts a deck of cards. The magician then asks you to pick one half. If the magician wants Half A and you pick Half B, the magician says, “Okay, we’ll remove that one.” If you pick Half A, the magician says, “Okay, we’ll use that one.” You felt like you controlled the situation…but you didn’t.

Here are the top ten (at time of writing) magazines listed under Women’s Interest:

  1. Us Weekly
  2. Prevention
  3. Southern Living
  4. Cooking Light
  5. Women’s Health
  6. ShopSmart
  7. More
  8. The Knot
  9. Brides
  10. Women’s Adventure

There are far fewer magazines in the Women’s category than in the Men’s, interestingly enough.

The only magazine that overlaps?

eFiction Magazine (at AmazonSmile*)

Fiction should appeal to both, in my opinion…but I don’t see a reason to label it as both appealing specifically to men and specifically to women. Maybe there should be a “Humans” section?😉 Of course, I wouldn’t want to discriminate against non-humans who read…artificial intelligence, and some dogs (including one that belongs to a sibling of mine…the dog helps with a disability, and can read a few commands), among others.😉

 Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) By the way, it’s been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to “start at AmazonSmile” if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

11 Responses to “Men’s Interest magazines in the USA Kindle store”

  1. Steve Says:

    Hi Bufo, you seem to be assuming that if something is listed under Men’s Interest that it wouldn’t also be listed under Women’s Interest or other gender neutral categories. Now if Popular Science is not also listed under Women’s Interest then it is time to rake Amazon over some hot coals or at least educate them to the errors of their ways.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Steve!

      Then the time has come, the walrus said.😉

      Thanks to your comment, I updated the post (and credited you for the inspiration) by looking at Women’s Interest…and Popular Science wasn’t there.

      I’m more of an educator type than a raker, and while I don’t expect it to make a difference, my post is one way to do that. Not to tell them I’m right and they are wrong, but to raise the question and let them see my readers’ responses.

      I tried to address your point in the post..for Outoor Life, I said:

      “Of course, you could say that “Men’s Interest” doesn’t mean that it’s not interesting to women, too, but then what would be the point in using the label?”

  2. Allie D. Says:

    There’s always the old schtick (literally) – Playboy Magazine “I read it for the articles!”
    Well I never did that, but maybe i was too young. I don’t know. I know that I’ve read great writing that originated and even a whole other genre seemingly created from magazines, from Playboy, as well as some more gender-neutral things like Rolling Stone*.. Some good stuff, and what would come to be known as “Creative Nonfiction” – I’ve missed some of those, too, the first time around! Examples: Tom Wolfe, Hunter S. Thompson – interestingly, if you’re gonna gender-bias anything, you might think those writers would be more appealing to men than women. Oh, P.J. O’Rouke, he used to write for Rolling Stone as well, no? You can be on whatever political side you want, he’s brilliant and hysterical and I was lucky enough to meet him when I was about 18 years old and he said, “Go on back to your dorm, don’t hang out with us old people!” Was rather charming.
    On the other hand, I grew up with a big brother and had a bit of a disdain for “girly” things – The “Math is Hard” Barbie thing, I was young… younger than ten I think so you could say the first thing I “protested” was something along the lines of calling the Barbie Hotline about THAT so it’s funny for me to look back. (By senior year of high school, I would have agreed with the Barbie, and so I headed into English lit instead🙂
    *Did the store you managed have a music section? As far as I can recall, Rolling Stone was the ONLY music mag for years and years until finally Spin Magazine showed up. Was Rolling Stone in the “men’s” interest area as well?
    Or, you mention Sports Illustrated… I subscribed to Runners’ World for quite a while, but I never bought it in a bookstore so I’d not know where it was placed in a magazine rack. I would imagine it would be near Sports Illustrated but I can’t quite picture Runners’ World next to GQ.
    Sorry just some late-night ruminations going on in my head here. Forgive any lack of lucidity. Made me think! That’s the goal, no?🙂

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Allie!

      You’ve uncovered my secret agenda…I like to encourage people to think.😉

      Not such a secret, I’d say.

      The bookstore I managed did not carry music, although we did have books about music.

      There was also Spin magazine (created by Hustler’s Bob Guccione, I think), and I think we might have carried a classical music magazine as well.

      We didn’t have a “men’s section” for magazines. I’m trying to remember, but I don’t think our magazines were divided into sections with labels, although we would tend to group them. The “adult magazines” were together…and there was some variety to those, in terms of intended market.

      There was some great fiction and non-fiction published in “Men’s magazines”!

      I believe my favorite ad lib of all time came from an interview with David Bowie in Playboy, although I’m not sure of the source and I’ll quote it from memory. The interviewer (and whether this was in Playboy or not, Playboy did some important interviews) asked something like, “When you were earlier in your career, you said you were schizophenic. Are you still schizophrenic now?”

      Bowie replied, “Part of me is, and part of me isn’t.”
      😉

      That’s not to make light of the challenges of schizophrenics, by the way…the interviewer could have used a different term to indicate someone having…different ways of presenting themselves to the world at different times. Not the same, but it was clear what was meant.

      • Allie D. Says:

        “You’ve uncovered my secret agenda…I like to encourage people to think.😉 ”

        I knew you were up to SOMETHING like that!!

        I get your remark about schizophrenic… it seems to mean “rapidly changeable” but I think it’s pretty much out of use now. It’s based on an outdated idea of schizophrenia anyway, mistaking for “multiple personality disorder”. Ah the leaps and bounds caused by “cultural sensitivity”. I want to know why they can’t call bipolar disorder manic-depressive… You get manic, you get depressed. Sounds right to me! (unfortunately I have some small reason to know that one.) But there are always arbitrary societal rules… which actually brings me back around to the subject of “categories” – people want things to be defined for them.
        The other thing is marketing. You can add a million “tags”, and the more tags, the more often your item – in this case, your magazine – will come up when people search. I’m sure you’ve made note of that somewhere here.
        You tag your posts, after all. Not *exactly* advertising, more like guiding people through – which helps your readers – but I bet it generates more clicks for you, too. Not many drawbacks to marketing this way (except possibly offending people – has anyone yet protested against having things marked “men’s interest”? ), and it feeds right into people’s need for definitions.
        Sorry for going on and on!
        -Allie

  3. alanchurch Says:

    “Popular Science: this particularly concerns me. There is so much effort being done to get women more involved in STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math). No particular reason this should appeal more to men. I remember there was a controversy years ago with a talking Barbie that used a chip instead of a string. One of things Barbie said was, “Math class is hard.” As I recall, Mattel had to take that one out because of complaints…since Barbie is more likely to be owned by girls than by boys”
    “No particular reason this should appeal to me.” On Another mag “I can’t see this appealing more to ….

    I am not interested in what you think appeals to whom but what actually appeals to whom. Those figures would give us some facts. Are they available? Who buys what? Do men buy pop science more than women or don’t they? This whole discussion i swishy washy. Give us some facts if you can rather than some musings.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, alanchurch!

      Interesting…I would have assumed that people who read this blog were both interested in what I thought and in the data. Of course, I haven’t scientifically studied it.😉

      You might have noticed that I didn’t classify this post as analysis. It’s listed as observation and opinion.

      Honestly, though, I do think a lot of my readers are interested in what I think about things (that fall under the classification of “musings”). My intent here wasn’t to prove whether or not something was true, but to share my opinions of what I thought was likely to be true, to help explain my reactions. I am a former bookstore manager, as you probably know, so I do have some experience with some of these magazines (although it was some time ago).

      As I’ve mentioned, I’m a data omnivore: I love studies, but I’m also interested in anecdotes.🙂

      I did take a quick look, though.

      I did find this reference for Sports Illustrated:

      https://books.google.com/books?id=YmO5q2pTOzsC&pg=PA130&dq=sports+illustrated+women+percentage&hl=en&sa=X&ei=O1n6VLixLcLXoATd7oGAAg&ved=0CB0Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=sports%20illustrated%20women%20percentage&f=false

      Allen Guttmann
      Columbia University Press, Aug 13, 2013

      It says that 13% of readers of Sports Illustrated are women, but I don’t know how reliable that is.

      Of course, what someone reads and what appeals to them may not be the same thing. “Appealing” to a group of people would be a sociological study, I believe…and there could be some psychological work that has been done on it as well (I’d be surprised if there hasn’t been).

      I suppose the bottom line is that I’m likely to still give people my opinions and musings in future posts…and that I’m also still likely to do the kinds of analyses I do in the Snapshots. As a reader, I would find both interesting, but I’m sure some people, like you, prefer one or the other.

  4. DONALD MARION Says:

    EVERY BOOKSTORE AND LIBRARY I HAVE VISITED CLASSIFIES UFOs IN THE “SUPERNATURAL – MYTHOLOGY – GHOST,” SECTION. STARTLING NON-FICTION BOOKS ABOUT THE OFFICIAL UFO ENCOUNTER BY USAF/RAF BASE-SECURITY AIRMEN IN ENGLAND’S RENDLESHAM FOREST HAVE RECENTLY BEEN PUBLISHED. NEW BOOKS EXPOSING THE DISTURBING EFFORTS BY THE USAFOSI IN ALBUQUERQUE TO CREATE AND THEN DEBUNK REPORTS ABOUT UNDERGROUND UFO BASES NEAR DULCE, NEW MEXICO, ARE AVAILABLE. LIFE-LONG UFO INVESTIGATION BY RESPECTED SCIENTISTS AND RESEARCHERS GO UNNOTICED AND ARE SOMETIMES DIFFICULT TO LOCATE. WHY?

    BOOKS DETAILING DECADES OF UFO RESEARCH BY RESPECTED PEOPLE LIKE FORMER STANFORD UNIVERSITY COMPUTER PROFESSOR, DR. JACQUES VALLEE, FORMER NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY ASTRONOMY PROFESSOR, DR. J. ALLEN HYNEK, ALONG WITH OTHER SCIENTISTS AND RESEARCHERS ARE AVAILABLE. NEWLY RELEASED AND NOW PUBLISHED OFFICIAL GOVERNMENT UFO FILES DETAILED BY BRITAIN’S FORMER INTELLIGENCE CHIEF ARE AMAZING AND UNDISPUTED.

    DESPITE DECADES OF EARNEST DEBUNKING, UFOS ARE STILL SIGHTED AROUND THE WORLD EVERY DAY. NEW BOOKS DETAILING RECENT UFO RESEARCH BY RESPECTED SCIENTISTS AND INVESTIGATORS DEMAND RECLASSIFICATION. NEW INFORMATIVE BOOKS ABOUT UFO SIGHTINGS, REPORTS AND FILES SHOULD BE IN THE SECTION WITH ASTRONOMY AND SCIENCE, NOT “SUPERNATURAL – MYTHOLOGY – GHOST STORIES.” BUT THAT IS WHERE BOOKS, NEW AND OLD, CONCERNING THE UFO PHENOMENON ARE ALWAYS CATAGORIZED IN LIBRARIES AND BOOK SHOPS I HAVE SEEN.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Donald!

      You may not be aware of this, but I’m pretty familiar with this field.

      Publishers tend to categorize their UFO books in different ways at Amazon…and “New Age” and “Occult” may be two of them for many books.

      The publisher does that, presumably, because they think they will sell better there.

      I have seen UFO books with a recommended classification of “Science” or “Astronomy” on them, when I was managing a brick and mortar bookstore.

      We would have people who would “rearrange” the store to make a philosophical point. I had people who would routinely put the Bible into science fiction/fantasy, for example.

      My sense, when I was a manager, is that some UFO books would not have sold as well with the science books. There were people who would buy science books who would have been offended to see even ones which took a scientific approach there.

      I think most UFO book purchasers, while they may roll their eyes at it, will buy UFO books they want out of the sections you describe.

      I think for most managers, that’s going to be the driving factor: where will the customers buy it, rather than where it belongs philosophically.

      I presume that’s also Amazon’s reason for having a “Men’s Interest” section for magazines…they think they will sell better there.

      As far as the public libraries, I think they tend to follow the Library of Congress classifications. One of the places they place UFO books is in that Mythology section:

      http://id.loc.gov/authorities/classification/BL65.U54.html

      That’s not the only place, though. Amusingly, when I clicked on a cross-reference link for UFOs, the page wasn’t found…

  5. alanchurch Says:

    Apparently the numbers are not available. I suspect amazon knows which mags men are more likely to buy- car mags, chess, etc. when I was in a chess club there were about 50 men and 1 woman.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, alanchurch!

      I assume somebody thinks they know the numbers.😉 I have chosen not to use services when they have required me to enter a gender to do so, but I think most people do it pretty freely.

      I would also suggest that it’s not a question of which magazines men will buy; it’s where the magazine will sell the best, regardless of the gender of the purchaser. I would guess that many women buy magazines in that Men’s Interest section…often for men. That’s just speculation (here, clearly labeled) on my part, though.🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: