Tablets Are For Men, eBook Devices Are For Women

Female Magazine Fans Flock to Nook Color

On the surface, the reason for the strong performance of female-oriented publications on the Nook is relatively straightforward. Generically speaking, the iPad and other tablets are men’s toys, while the Nook Color and other e-readers are more popular with women. According to data from Forrester Research, 56 percent of tablet owners are male, while 55 percent of e-reader owners are female. Women also buy more books than men do — by a ratio of about 3 to 1, according to a survey last year by Bowker, a research firm for publishers — and are therefore more likely to buy devices that are made primarily for reading books.

But publishers also believe the resonance of the Nook Color among women highlights the vast difference in consumer markets. Some women, at least, seem to prefer their electronic reading devices to be simpler, something they can read on. Tablets with Rock Band, GT Racing and high-res cameras? That’s guy stuff.

Barnes & Noble apparently took a page out of the book of Tom Peters, who has railed about how women are generally overlooked when it comes to marketing, especially for technology.

Funny that I never really noticed the pro-woman marketing of the Nook. I only thought it was more or less derivative of Amazon’s Kindle marketing.

Still, I can’t quite wrap my head around all of this.

For the longest time, I’ve been yelled at by eInk proponents that they lurrrrrve their eInk and would never give it up, even though I’ve declared eInk dead more than once (here and here).

Yet the NookColor, a device with a LCD screen, is, quoting, “the most successful product in Barnes & Noble’s history.” That means it kicked the original Nook’s eInk ass.

How the hell do I reconcile the two?

Could it be the eInk lovers have actually been a fringe minority all this time and that it took a slick and small LCD device to make eBook reading popular with the mainstream of readers?

If that’s the case, then Amazon’s upcoming tablet will break all sales records — including that of the iPad.

I have to give Barnes & Noble credit for pulling this off. This will probably be the year Sony finally admits defeat and kills the Reader, having been beaten by a third-entrant. That is totally humiliating.

Now, if only Len Riggio and company would see the wisdom of dropping that damned mutant DRM. Until they do, the market they’re addressing is one based on economic discrimination and is antithetical to the original business of Barnes & Noble itself.


Filed under Barnes & Noble Nook, Digital Overthrow, Digital Periodicals, eBooks: General, eInk Devices, Marketing

2 responses to “Tablets Are For Men, eBook Devices Are For Women

  1. I read an article(I’ll try to find it later) that said, basically: Women don’t buy gadgets, like men do. They buy appliances. eBook readers, for women, fall inder the heading of appliance.

    That has haunted me for a while now, and I think that’s true for me.

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