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The demise of e-readers?

December 11, 2012

Good friend of mine sent me this article (via Twitter) about how sales of e-readers are forecasted to drop dramatically in the next few years. Seeing as how I’m a bit of a bibliophile, he wanted my opinion. There’s no way I could answer in 140 characters, so here’s just a few thoughts:

  • There’s no doubt that tablets ARE taking large chunks of the e-reader market, especially with low-price (and smaller) options available like the Nook Tablet and the Kindle Fire. Certainly, much of that is even pushed by the e-reader retailers themselves.
  • I have both an iPad 2 and a Kindle Paperwhite. I love them both, and use them both on a daily basis. There is a market for people to own two devices, IF they are such readers that they find benefit in doing so. I read for roughly two hours a day, sometimes even more. With that kind of volume, the iPad gets a little bulky, and a little hard on the eyes. The Kindle mimics a book page so well, you get lost in the experience and barely even realize you’re reading something that isn’t a physical book.
  • Do I care if the market for e-readers dies? Not really. I’m fine with it being a tool for those folks who read a lot. I think at the beginning, many people figured it could function as a pseudo-tablet. Once the affordable tablets came on the market, however, they bolted. If you read 10ish books a year (which even then would be higher than average), a dedicated e-reader just isn’t worth it.
  • Is the forecast accurate? What a paradox of a question that I just asked myself. Silly me. Ya know, it probably is. Like I said, people don’t read as much as you think. Average Joe doesn’t, anyway. Most people will want something they can read magazines on, and watch movies on, and surf the web on. For most people, one of those mass market tablets will be more desirable, as it simply can do more.
  • Simply put, for the book-a-holic, an e-readers is a must. When traveling, it’s nearly literally a lifesaver, as I’m saving my back the hardship of carrying five hardcover books in my bag. E-lending from libraries also just makes it so easy to read just about anything — as I never even have to get off my couch to be loaned a book. Fan-freakin-tastic.

What do you think?

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