Video Killed the Radio Star? Who is primed to succeed as ereading evolves?

Though the holiday sales rush is over, there’s still no shortage of talk about ereading devices. The only problem? The market and technology has grown so much in the past year that “ereader” has come to mean so much more than dedicated devices such as the Nook Simple Touch or Kindle Paperwhite. This past month brought a lot of speculation as to whether or not the tablet has more or less killed the ereader. With tablet sales soaring, signs point to ‘yes,’ but some predict that ereaders will bounce back in the new year and that heavy book consumers still prefer the simpler device.

When we began this column, it seemed that the “ereader race” was a competition between companies such as Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, and Sony. But with the recent tablet boom (and the iPad offering more storage than ever before) and increasingly brilliant smart phones, this foot race has become the size of the New York City Marathon.

So what will proliferate and what will become a memory? Read on to draw your own conclusion.

“As more Android-based tablets are set to release in the coming months, Finvista Advisors’ analyst Sameer Singh believes that 2013 will likely mark the year iOS will lose its tablet dominance to the little green robot. However, that projection is based on an 18% drop in iPad sales for Q3 2012, when people were waiting for Apple‘s iPad mini announcement. Now that the mini has been released and deemed a bona fide success, it’s unclear if 2013 will be the tipping point, after all.”

Ron Lammle, Mashable (1/2/2013)

“‘What concerns us is that as the overall market gravitates toward color tablets, you’d have expected that Barnes & Noble would have been able to maintain its share because it introduced two new color tablets during the quarter,’ said Morningstar analyst Peter Wahlstrom. ‘They aren’t behind on the tablet front in the sense that their devices compare well with others, but they are behind in terms of marketing, awareness and adoption. And that’s critical.’”

Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg, Wall Street Journal (1/3/2013)

 “A chirpy Kobo has claimed it now has more than 12 million registered users, four million of them creating ebook buyer accounts with the company during 2012.

It lauded its device sales too – well, its e-ink kit, not its Android-based tablet offerings – insisting it had captured 20 per cent of the world ereader market in 2012.”

Tony Smith, The Register (1/17/2013)

“Sales of the iPad 4 were not expected to be harmed by the smaller, sleeker and cheaper iPad Mini. As the king of touch screen devices, Apple was thought to be the one company that could overcome any risk of cannibalization.

According to Reuters, that may not be the case. The publication reports that Sharp (one of Apple’s largest display suppliers) has significantly reduced the production of screens for the full-size iPad.”

Louis Bedigian, Forbes (1/1/2013)

“In November 2012, the Market intelligence & Consulting Institute (MWC) said it expected eReader shipments to rebound in 2013 with 18.2 million units shipped. E-Ink chairman Scott Liu is also optimistic, telling Digitimes the eReader market is expected to keep growing in 2013. Speaking of which, E-ink sales aren’t exactly drying up. E-ink revenue climbed a percentage point in December versus one month prior, and increased 141 percent year-over-year.”

Paul Lilly, Hot HardWare (1/25/2013)

“These days, excellence in a smartphone isn’t enough. Microsoft’s phone is terrific, too, and hardly anyone will touch it.

So then, is the delightful BlackBerry Z10 enough to save its company?

Honestly? It could go either way. But this much is clear: BlackBerry is no longer an incompetent mess — and its doom is no longer assured.”

David Pogue, The New York Times (1/30/2013)

Leave a Comment


  1. Feb 15, 201311:43 am

    I prefer my E-Reader over my Tablet for quite a few reasons!

    1. Tablets get hot after a few hours of reading
    2. E-Readers have a longer battery life
    3. The E Ink doesn’t hurt my eyes like the Tablet screen does

    In the end, it comes down to what kind of a consumer you are. If you read infrequently a Tablet might just be alright; if you are reading books all the time an E-Reader is the way to go. Also I think the Tablet is turning into a semi-professional device, whereas the E-Reader is seen as a hobby/lifestyle device.
    Therefore, at least until Tablet manufacturers fix/change these things, E-Readers will stay strong.

    2 cents of a bookworm.

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