“When women stop reading, the novel will be dead,” declared Ian McEwan in the Guardian last year...
There is a disparity between how books are marketed and how they are received by the market. Capturing a male market does often seem to be a goal - even if that market is a myth. Often the difference between a successful book and a really successful book is that it does find a male audience. I know a lot of people are quite permissive about what their boys read: 'As long as he's reading...' or 'if it gets boys to read, it must be good.' (I'm thinking specifically here of the John Marsden Tomorrow series, which I also think is an interesting series but I do think parents ought to read it too, or that schools should encourage meaningful discussion about it because it could be read on a few different levels and one is quite bleak and pessimistic). Garth Nix said somewhere (I read it, I think in a book doing interviews with young adult authors) that books are kind of over-priveleged, weighted with value (I'm paraphrasing) and that boys do read, pointing out that playing a PC game or being on the internet is an experience of reading. It's been well known for some time that boys and men are more likely to read non-fiction.
I live in a house with a literate man (from a family of readers) and grew up with another very literate man, but I have met men who only buy really really long books (because there's a better $ to page ratio), men who only read fishing magazines, boys who read intensively about one subject only - but look, they're all reading (mostly non-fiction). My brother claims to read only a few novels a year (but he does really think about them and it was he who first recommended The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time to me.)
Anyway, go read the article. I don't have a firm position on it, but it's interesting.
Incidently the link comes from a woman I met through uni, Nadia Niaz, who is a very good poet and clearly spends her time thinking about interesting things, because she also gave me the tenth dimension link I posted a while ago in the midst of lack-of-sleep world.