The New York Times is carrying an interesting piece on the success the Nook Color has found among the female magazine-reading demographic. Being smaller and simpler than the iPad, the Nook Color seems to come across as less of a “toy for boys” and something women can be more comfortable with. Certainly that’s one of the ways Barnes & Noble is marketing it.

And what few sales figures are available seem to bear out the success of this approach.

Magazine top sellers include US Weekly, Shape, Women’s Health and Every Day with Rachael Ray. Men’s magazines like Maxim and Men’s Health rounded out the top 20 late last week, but they were the outliers.

B&N claims the sale of 1.5 million magazine subscriptions and copies of single issues have been sold to Nook Color users since November, and will undoubtedly be trying to build on this success as it launches its new e-reader tomorrow. (I will be eagerly awaiting our own Paul Biba’s coverage of this event!) It is also undoubtedly a large part of what made B&N such an attractive target to Liberty Media for its $1 billion acquisition offer.

The Times article points out another benefit as well: the terms of putting magazines on the Nook Color are a lot simpler than those demanded by Apple for the iPad, and all a magazine publisher has to do is send PDFs of the pages to Barnes & Noble when each issue is ready—B&N takes care of the rest. Of course, this means that magazines on the Nook Color are more likely to be text than multimedia experiences, but it seems a lot of women would rather just read what’s on the page. (Undoubtedly a lot of men would, too.)

“Nook Color really taught us an important lesson in that consumers in their interests are really diverse,” said David Carey, president of Hearst Magazines. “We have those that want a really enhanced edition with cinematic elements which you find in iTunes, and those who want a more straightforward version of their favorite magazine where the benefit is portability.”

I’m a little nervous about this whole “iPads are from Mars, Nook Colors are from Venus” approach, but the important thing is that the Nook Color seems to have found a unique niche all its own that means it’s in no danger of getting trod under the heels of Apple’s iPad. It may not be an “iPad killer”, but then neither is the iPad a “Nook Color killer.” And so the tablet market expands.

(Found via Salon Magazine.)


  1. A lot of the article comes across as a bit sexist to me, too. But I agree the NC has nailed a great niche in the magazine market. If it continues to add more men’s titles to its catalog, I’d bet it becomes as popular for more men as it already is for me (four of my five subscriptions are on the NC right now).

    And it’s silly to compare it to the iPad, since iPad isn’t a magazine reader, it’s more of a general-purpose device.

  2. Well, that explains why I bought and enjoy my NookColor! I think they’re on shaky ground, marketing wise, because if they make it a Girl’s Toy, it’ll be less attractive to Guys. I know a few men who really like their NookColors. At least until now 🙂

    But then they can always ‘root’ the gizmo and get back that guy thing!

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