Shebooks Publishes Books by Women for Women
Ebook publisher hopes to give women what they want.
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The founders of Shebooks believe every woman has a story. Launched a year ago, the online publisher has released 71 titles—short e-books, all by women, which can be downloaded and read in an hour or two.
“It’s been incredibly exciting to see how many women writers have wonderful short memoirs just sitting in their drawers, waiting to be published,” says Shebooks’ editorial director, Laura Fraser.
Fraser, a well-established San Francisco based journalist and book author, joined forces with Peggy Northrop and Rachel Greenfield, both veterans of the publishing world, to co-found Shebooks. The women knew first-hand the challenges female writers face. Although women read more books than men, men get published more. Research by VIDA, a grassroots organization that tracks gender disparity by manually counting who is writing, reviewing, and getting reviewed in major literary outlets, finds male writers are often represented three to one or more over women. VIDA board member Amy King says there is no one, simple reason for the uneven playing field in publishing.
Finding good women writers wasn’t the issue for Fraser and her colleagues. The disparity of women getting published and the dwindling number of viable outlets for women’s writing was. With the growing e-book market, the women saw an opportunity to right the publication gender bias and give women more access to what they presumably want to read. Soon Shebooks was publishing one or two original works each week authored by well-known and emerging women writers from around the country, including several from the Bay Area.
Why short e-books? “We wanted to publish something of high-quality reading value to fill those pockets of time in your day, whether it’s commuting or waiting to pick someone up,” Fraser says. “Everyone is busy, especially women, and e-books are perfect for mobile devices.”