The Death Of The eReader?

Categories: Uncategorized

Analysts are predicting the slow demise of the e-reader. But it’s not as controversial as you think… because they’re simply being replaced by tablet devices equipped with ereader apps.

Last year was most likely the peak for the e-reader; over 23M units were shipped. According to The-Digital-Reader, e-reader shipments are expected to drop like a rock in 2013, falling by a projected 27%.

Let’s be honest, we all know that the e-reader, in its purest form, was little more than a technological stopgap. Even though the Kindle was cute looking, I could never understand the appeal of a device with a two tone screen and no other functionality besides displaying text… it seemed laughable.

Over the next couple of years, e-reader features improved and the line between e-readers and tablets got blurry. All of a sudden, e-readers starting including web browsers, app stores, etc.

Right now, it appears that the e-reader era is ending.

What it Means For Authors

For digital authors, the takeaway is that your strategy should focus on the apps. The future of ebooks will be determined by the popularity of e-reading apps… good news for Amazon, Apple, and Google.

For B&N and Kobo, on the other hand, this can’t be seen as good news.

Kobo and B&N are heavily invested in the device side, not the ecosystems. The Nook is a good device, but it’s not going to gain any ground on the iPad, Kindle, or the handful of popular Android tablets… all of which come standard with, you guessed it, their own reader apps and product ecosystems.

I don’t think that there’s any doubt that the Kindle App will continue to hold the top spot; it’s just got way too much of an advantage. At the same time, I think the Nook and Kobo apps are going to struggle to hang onto their market share.

iBook and the Google Play Books app are going to steadily gain ground, because they’re pre-installed on the popular devices.

Check it out: Even the Kindle lineup is shifting toward a broader, multifaceted direction…





About Josh Loposer

Josh is the managing editor of Digital Marketer, as well an aspiring novelist. Find out more about what Josh is working on on Facebook, Google, or on his website.
View all posts by Josh Loposer ➞


  • Poul Bendsen says:

    Your article glosses over the fact that the eReaders can be read in the brightest of sunlight because of the eInk technology. Instead of being backlit, which washes out in sunlight, the eInk screens are reflective, exactly like paper. This also means absolutely no flicker. Color eInk is on it’s way. In addition, since these devices are so inexpensive, the days of only having one device are over. I have 3 PCs, 2 eReaders, and one tablet, so far. Just like I might spread out a half dozen books when doing a research project, I expect soon to spread out a half dozen tablets and eReaders instead. Haven’t you ever seen that on Star Trek? :-) :-) :-)

  • Marilyn says:

    In light of this, do you suggest new e-book authors integrate more images for Kindle books rather than just text? I guess the answer is obvious….but your thoughts?

    • Josh Loposer says:

      Yes, definitely. Images can really complete the reading experience — diagrams, illustrations, etc. You do have to keep in mind that many users will be viewing these in black and white, though. So the pics need to be clear and legible in B&W.

  • frank says:

    How about videos on Kindle. When could that happen?
    Animated books and teaching stories. When is that due?
    Or maybe it’s b est to use the iPhone for these communication mediums

    Comments please!

    Happy Holdays

    • Josh Loposer says:

      The Kindle Fire is in most ways the Amazon equivalent to the iPad. Video links and html can be embedded within Kindle books, so the sky’s the limit. The major difference between the Kindle and Kindle Fire lineups is that the Kindle Fires can do much more than just function as ereaders!

  • Ed says:

    With so many e-readers in play, I don’t think the demise of the e-reader is imminent, especially in terms of the things Number One Book Club members want to sell -> ebooks. The hardware is surely going to change, but the content is more or less evergreen. People still buy that old technology, printed books.

  • the pater says:

    Makes sense to me.

  • Chad says:

    “I could never understand the appeal of a device with a two tone screen and no other functionality besides displaying text” – I couldn’t either, until I actually bought one earlier this year.

    I’m an avid reader, completing approximately 50 books every year. I have had Kindle apps on my iPad, iPhone, Windows 7 Phone, desktop PC, and notebook.

    But after reading on those devices for the last few years, I still found myself doing my serious reading using paperbacks and hardbacks.

    But about eight months ago, I ordered a Kindle primarily to use as a test device because I was publishing Kindle books myself. But I fell in love with it. Since then, I have purchased and read over 63 books on it. During the same time, I’ve purchased only two reference books and two paperbacks that did not have Kindle editions..

    The two-tone Kindle has replaced reading regular books for me, which no other platform succeeded in doing.

    I use my iPad extensively, but if push came to shove, I would give up my iPad before I would give up my Kindle.

  • Fred Harding says:

    I disagree. If it is just books you want to read the the e-reader has many advantages, the greatest of these is they are designed specifically to work just like books. They are lighter, text sharper and because of the low battery consumption they will work for a month or more. Tablets, brilliant though they are, will only last 6 hours at best. The colour screen and apps uses up a lot of power. I have a Kindle 3 keyboard and it is perfect for reading. I also have a 7 inch Tablet running Android 4 and Kindle for Android, and although it is nice to see coloured pictures if they exist, I much prefer the Kindle 3 e-reader. I wonder if others would agree.

    • Josh Loposer says:

      I see your point, and a lot of readers agree with you. But if battery technology and reader apps improve, do you think you’ll still want a separate e-reader device?