Barnes and Noble has recently given us a clear insight into the Nook’s target audience. The gigantic bookseller just began a new promotion which offers new Nook users free books. The catch is the users must be converts from a different e-reader; in fact they must bring their old device to the store with them. Once they purchase the Nook they will get amazing selections from Barnes and Noble’s E-book store – up to thirty total, for free!

The collection free with purchase is reportedly worth $315, well over the price of the Nook simple-touch reader at $139. Unfortunately there is another catch. Buyers do not get to pick their free books; Barnes and Noble’s marketing team has pre-selected them and loaded them on to SD cards for those participating in the promotion. Definitely a disappointment isn’t it?

Weirdly enough, it would seem that although the booksellers have been marketing their product to all ages via their “Read Forever” campaign to celebrate reading – yeah right, more like celebrate buying e-readers – their target for this promotion is a middle-aged woman, if not older. How could this be? Well the list chosen by the B&N marketing team reveals quite a lot.

Of the thirty books around 6 of them would be considered of the classical literary canon – Little Women, Robinson Crusoe, Don Quixote and such. These are the most general-interest of the list; well-known favorites for all ages. Other selections like The Bedside Baccalaureate follow in this general- interest theme. Looking more closely, however, the list reveals more specifics. For instance the list is very gender-biased. Titles like Jessica Lost, The Mom’s Guide to Running a Business, My Boyfriend Wrote a Book About Me, Checkout Girl, and Love Virtually – is it just me or do these sound a bit girly?

Upon even further examination the list shows that this established general-interest, female audience is in fact also over-the-hill. Titles like AARP Crash Course in Finding the Work You Love, (about Boomers reinventing their lives), The 21st Century Crossword Puzzle Dictionary and The Good Housekeeping Cookbook (both for people with time on their hands – retired maybe?) suggest reading for the older set.

This may be a bit overanalyzed but it seems as though Barnes and Noble’s Nook users share a few similar characteristics. Granted, the selection also does include titles like Soccer: The Player’s Handbook; B&N may just be trying to reach a varied audience. However, it seems unlikely. (Sorry young techies! You’re still hip, I promise!)