The Nook Color has turned out to be a major hit for Barnes & Noble as many critics would go so far as to dub the e-book reader as the best Android tablet currently available. It seems that part of that success could be attributed to how popular the device has been with women.
According to The New York Times, the success of the Nook Color has largely stemmed from digital magazine purchases. The majority of those magazine sales were female-focused titles such as Cosmopolitan and Women's Health. Liz Schimel, executive vice president for digital media for Meredith publications, told the NYT:
We didn’t really know what to expect...We regarded it as sort of a test. Would the Nook magazine experience resonate with consumers? We were extremely pleasantly surprised. I think Barnes & Noble has been very smart about creating a whole brand and a campaign that’s really targeted at their core mass audience which overlaps nicely with our audience.
As both a woman and a Nook Color owner, this doesn't surprise me much and I'm willing to go along with the NYT report. Here are five simple reasons why:
- Advertising. Since the Nook Color was introduced in October, Barnes & Noble has been quick to position it as the choice device for reading digital media. And since that time, the Nook Color has been repeatedly advertised as depicting primarily women's related magazines (such as Elle and Marie Claire) open on the screen. Even if a reader picks up the print version of one of these women's magazines, the Nook Color tends to be the centerpiece example in ads (in front of the Apple iPad and Samsung Galaxy Tab) for reading the particular magazine on a tablet.
- More choices. The availability of complete issues of digital magazines is finally starting to grow in iTunes and thus on the iPad. But there are still more women's magazines available in full form in the Barnes & Noble eBookstore, including Women's Day, Shape and Glamour - just to name a few out of the 40 titles already available.
- "Women also buy more books than men do." The article cites the Forrester Research statisitc that women buy more books than men at a ratio of 3 to 1. Additionally, over half of e-book reader owners are female.
- Reasonable price tag. To piggyback on the previous reason, it's also possible that the Nook Color has been successful with select readers because it's only $249. If someone is only interested in an e-book reader for the purpose of reading colorized, full-fledged magazines, then the Nook Color is the obvious choice. Personally, I do find the magazine reading experience on an iPad to be much more satisfactory. However, the iPad 2 starts at $499, which calls for many more reasons to want to buy a tablet than just flipping through digital glossy pages.
- Size Matters. The Nook Color sports a 7-inch color touch screen, which is much smaller and easier to fit into most women's purses, handbags, whatever. That might not seem like an important reason to some consumers, but it definitely is for someone who wants to tote around an e-book reader or tablet as frequently as possible.
Related coverage on ZDNet:
- Barnes & Noble expected to debut new e-book reader soon
- Review: Barnes & Nobles' Nook Color goes Android Tablet
- Barnes & Noble treats Nook Color to Froyo; unveils Nook Apps