Sales of Women’s Magazines Boom on Nook Color

Women prefer e-readers, while men buy more iPads

While the iPad is still the preferred format for many magazines, Barnes & Noble’s Nook Color is proving a worthy rival when it comes to women’s titles. Sales of magazines like O, The Oprah Magazine, Cosmopolitan, and Women’s Health on the Nook Color have matched—and in some cases, even surpassed—sales of those same titles on the iPad, and the trend has been unexpected for some publishers, says The New York Times.

“We were extremely pleasantly surprised,” said Liz Schimel, executive vice president for digital media for Meredith. “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.” Subscriptions to the publisher’s Family Circle and More have outsold the same titles on the iPad (where only single issues are available) by 2 to 1. Similarly, Rodale and Hearst have seen sales of subscriptions to female-friendly publications on the Nook Color surpass sales of those magazines on the iPad.

The reasoning behind these booming sales, according to the Times, is fairly simple: iPads and other tablets are more popular with men, while women tend to buy e-readers. Women also buy more books than men do and are therefore more likely to purchase an e-reader over a tablet. Barnes & Noble has also targeted their device toward the female set—ads show women serenely reading on their Nook Color while relaxing at home or on the beach.

Publishers, many of whom have had a notably strained relationship with Apple, are embracing the Nook Color. Barnes & Noble is not only far more willing to share subscriber information than Apple has been—a major point of contention—but also creating digital magazines for the Nook Color is far easier and cheaper than for the iPad. Publications on the Nook Color are less interactive and high-tech than their Apple cousins, and offer more of a traditional magazine experience—which, says the Times, is exactly what many women want.