Secrets of the Self-Help Empire

They are always on top of bestseller lists and next to the cash register—but what’s the real deal with self-help books? While the rest of the publishing industry heads south, self-help books saw an increase of 22 percent last year. And, (no surprise here) it was women who bought 74 percent of the books in the relationship or family categories. According to experts, women flock to the self-help section, buying books like Why Hasn’t He Proposed? because when they have a problem, they immediately blame themselves. Publishers know that men just won’t shell out for books on love, and would rather “have a root canal than sit down and read a relationship book.”