eBook readers in terminal decline

Posted on by Mike Evans

eBook readers are in decline and the multi-function tablet is taking over. Writing in iSupply, Jordan Shelburn says that the rapid growth--followed by the immediate collapse--of the ebook market is virtually unheard of. Sales of ebook readers soared following their introduction six years ago. From 2008 to 2010, shipments grew from one million to ten million. By 2016, he says, sales will have declined to just seven million.

But the stunning rise and then blazing flameout of ebooks perfectly encapsulate what has become an axiomatic truth in the industry: Single-task devices like the ebook are being replaced without remorse in the lives of consumers by their multifunction equivalents, in this case by media tablets. And while other uni-tasking devices—like digital still cameras, GPS systems and MP3 players—also face similar pressures and battle dim prospects ahead, all have had a longer time in the sun than ebook readers, demonstrating even more painfully the depth of the ebook reader’s fall.

The decline is entirely down to the rise of the tablet with its more versatile talents. It is no reflection on the popularity of ebooks, however, as sales continue to soar. It's just that more and more of us are now reading on tablets instead of on e-ink one-trick ponies.

by Mike Evans, 14 December 2012

My friend Tony Cole of disagrees, as I thought he would.

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