Ereader sales to slump as punters snap up cheap slabs – report
Ebooks now eaten on multi-function tablets
The ereader market is heading towards a slump in 2012 as users increasingly consume digital content on their tablets, according to new research from Taiwanese IT news site Digitimes.
The report found that overall, global shipments of ereaders stood at 22.82 million units in 2011, a year-on-year increase of 107 per cent. It added that annual shipments would exceed 60 million units by 2015.
However, these figures mask a change in the industry which has already seen Kindle-peddler Amazon slash orders from suppliers for its hugely popular ebook readers, according to Digitimes.
The report put global shipments of ereaders in the first quarter of 2012 at only two million units, down from nine million the previous quarter.
Even though Q4 2011 included the all-important Christmas sales period, it still represents a significant drop in sales.
In Amazon’s case, the slump has been caused in part because users are buying its Kindle Fire tablet rather than a regular one-trick-pony ereader, the report claimed – a phenomenon it called the "substitution effect".
Frost & Sullivan analyst Pranabesh Nath agreed that consumer buying behaviour in the ebook market is changing, saying that multifunction tablets like the Fire and the Barnes & Noble's Nook Tablet are proving increasingly popular.
“I think this trend will accelerate in the future as more vendors get into the game and prices fall further – think of an Apple iPad Mini, for example,” he told The Register.
“What will be interesting to see is how e-ink technology evolves as a result of this trend, and whether it can survive the onslaught of cheaper LCD-based tablet devices such as the Kindle Fire, which are usable in a wide variety of ways.”
Nath argued that the market is also being held back by the price of ebooks, which he claimed needed to fall by 30 to 40 per cent, as well as the proprietary nature of most ereader technology. ®
it's funny, Amazon shot themselves in the foot by muddying the kindle line by adding a shit tablet to it.
Tablets and ereaders arn't the same thing and going over the differences is a waste of energy.
If I want to read a book whilst on holiday or while commuting or in bed, or more or less anywhere where i'd read more than 10 minutes I'll use a real book or an ereader. Also where holding anything bigger than a kindle is a nuisance (rush hour commuter trains) I want an ereader.
For me, personally, a tablet still has no role in my life, it doesn't fit anything I want to do. It can't replace my desktop at home or laptop at work. It does the same things my netbook does but lacks a keyboard for typing. It isn't as small and easy for quick one off things like my phone, the screen and battery life don't suit reading and it can't play games like my portable console. Their success really does still bemuse me.
Re: Pros and cons.
E-ink, being passive, allows me to read all day (limited only by the wife & kids...) . LCD panels, on the other hand, I find MUCH harder to read for extended periods.
Market saturation may also be playing a factor - I suspect that most people that want a dedicated, easy on the eyes ereader already have one.
Here's an idea that would make me seriously consider getting an e-reader.
I have hundreds of books at home that I would be interested in reading again, and I do re-read some of them very often. This is the big thing stopping me going for an e-reader - I can't format shift my existing library.
So, how about I send my paper books back to Amazon (I would have to pay the shipping) and in return they give me a 75% or so discount on the Kindle version of the same book. They can then pulp the books if they want (so there are the same number of copies of that book in existence, one less paper and one more electronic) but they have made 25% of the cost of the e-book. Alternatively they could re-sell the book as a second-hand item in their own marketplace.
This would require some interesting deals with publishers, but if anyone has the muscle to make this sort of deal happen, it is Amazon.
Re: An idea...
Much as it pains me to defend eBook peddlars, the ludicrous price of (some) eBooks is down to the PUBLISHERS. After geting my Kindle and discovering a few cases where the eBook was WAYYYYYYYY more expensive than the dead tree version, I complained to Amazon. I got a reply within half an hour apologising, and explaining that Amazon had to charge the publishers price, and inviting me to complain to them.
And don't forget, there's VAT on eBooks.
When I can use a tablet everyday but only have to charge it every few weeks I'll be interested until then I'll stick to my ereader.