Nearly 75 percent of Nook Color owners are women

Nook Color

Nook ColorThanks to its prominent position as a combination e-reader and tablet device that has books, full-color magazines and casual games, the Nook Color’s ownership is now almost 75 percent women, according to a Barnes & Noble executive.

While it was known generally that women buy more Nook Colors, we had no idea it was so one-sided. The surprising number came from Claudia Romanini Backus, Barnes & Noble’s director of developer relations, when I spoke with her at CTIA Enterprise 2011 in San Diego. Backus’ job is to work with developers to get more apps into the Nook’s sparse-but-curated 800-count application market, and this statistic is one she frequently cites to app developers she wants to attract.

“We on the app team make it a point to talk about it,” Backus said. “We want developers to realize this is an area they can differentiate and take advantage of.”

Women buy more e-books than men, with recent research by GfK MRI suggesting women are 52 percent more likely than men to own an e-reader. Why the Nook Color is so much more popular women likely comes down to two of its unique features: an extensive array of digital magazines from most major publishers and fun casual games like Angry Birds. It also doesn’t hurt that the device has a 7-inch screen, which makes it better suited for purses than an 10-inch tablet like the iPad.

The $249 Nook Color’s position as one of the cheapest Android tablets around was upended recently by the debut of the $199 Amazon Kindle Fire, which will launch on Nov. 15. Perhaps the tablet’s female fans will be one area the Nook can continue to thrive. That said, I do expect Barnes & Noble to drop its Nook Color price in the near future or release an updated version of the device or both. Or perhaps it could sell this Nook Color for $199 and a new Nook Color 2 for more.

Since the Nook Color’s launch last year, Barnes & Noble hasn’t released official sales numbers for the device, so it’s hard to see just how many women have purchased one. One report in March suggested B&N had shipped more than 3 million Nook Colors and who knows how many the company has sold since then. Even at the low end, as many as 2 million women likely have a Nook Color.

Are you surprised the Nook Color’s female ownership numbers are so high?