What is a gender swap book?

A gender swap book (or gender swapped book!) is one where the genders of some or all the characters are swapped, for instance from male to female or vice versa. At GenderSwap Books, we apply this to classic novels which are out of copyright. We change as little as possible in the body of the novel other than character names, pronouns, and some collective or professional nouns which denote gender (such as “policeman” or “workmen”).

Why would you mess around with classic novels like that?

Classic English literature makes for popular reading, as well as being taught in schools and universities around the world.  But classic novels reflect the culture and prejudices of the times in which they were written; many are almost exclusively about straight, white men. By creating these new, gender swapped versions of classic novels, we’re aiming to enable a wider audience to feel represented in the books they’re reading, as well as shining a light on some of the assumptions and prejudices written into the classic novels we hold dear.

Do you always change all male characters to female and vice versa?

No! Well… yes, currently. Our first two published eBooks (Dracula and the Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Ms. Hyde) are straightforward gender swaps, where all male characters are switched to female, and vice versa. However, our intention is to build up a collection of gender swapped classic novels which include non-binary characters – as well as novels where we swap the gender of some, but not all characters, and incorporate same-sex relationships. 

How close are your gender swapped versions to the original novels?

Our guiding principle when editing our gender swap books is to change as little as possible. Some publishers offer gender-swapped retellings of classic stories, but our books aren’t retellings: we haven’t reinvented the characters, or changed the stories in any way. At GenderSwap Books we republish the original text of classic novels, with the bare minimum changes required to swap the male characters to female and vice versa. We also swap the gender of inanimate objects (why are ships always female? I have no idea – but in our books, they’re male).

As well as changing names and pronouns, we do make minor edits to the text to remove references to physical attributes, clothing etc. where this would be incongruous once a character’s gender has been swapped (for instance, removing references to a now-female character’s beard).

All GenderSwap Books eBooks include a character listing detailing the original character names against the new gender-swapped equivalents, and a comprehensive set of notes which detail all of the more significant edits made to the original text.

I have a great idea for your next book

Great! We love to hear from you with your feedback on our gender swap books, as well as any suggestions for the next classic novel that should get the GenderSwap Books treatment. You can contact us here or get in touch with us on social media. 

Can I buy a physical copy of one of your gender-swapped books?

Not yet. Currently, GenderSwap Books are publishing our gender-swapped versions of classic literature online as eBooks. If there is sufficient demand, we will look at expanding into selling physical copies of our books in future – so get in touch if that’s something you would be interested in.

What kind of eBooks do you sell?

It’s worth bearing in mind that there are different kinds of eBooks. On this website we sell our novels in ePub format, which is the most common eBook format and compatible with most eBook readers. We also sell our gender swapped books on Amazon, so if you’ve got a Kindle you can also download straight from the Kindle online store.

Who are gender swapped books for?

Our books are for everyone! Male, female, non-binary, trans, straight, gay, other… We aim to be inclusive for everyone, and we believe that everyone can find something new and interesting – and maybe challenge some unconscious biases – in these books.

How do you create GenderSwap books?

All our books are edited, line by line, by humans. It would be possible to write an algorithm to get a computer to swap the gender of characters, but our aim is to avoid breaking the fourth wall and ensure that the re-written books feel internally consistent. That means making sure that we carefully edit descriptions which might be incongruous once the gender of characters has been swapped – and that has to be done manually.

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